What is robotic surgery?

Staying at the forefront of advancements in technology is one of the hallmarks of Phoenix Cardiac Surgery. Our goal is to investigate, evaluate, and master the latest methods and technologies so we can provide our patients with the most effective treatment available.

One constantly evolving field is surgical robotics, which are an unprecedented way to extend surgical capabilities beyond the limits of conventional techniques such as laparoscopy. Robotics were first used to perform neurosurgical biopsies with greater precision in the mid-1980s, and then were soon used to perform additional surgeries such as prostate removal.

Over the past three decades, robotics have continued to evolve and become more specialized. We now employ robotic technologies for some routine cardiothoracic surgeries. [Source]

Using robotics during cardiothoracic surgery can, in some cases, allow the surgeon to get better, more precise results, or to perform surgeries through smaller incisions than traditional techniques.

In which procedures does Phoenix Cardiac Surgery use robotics?

In his experience, Dr. Fang has found the surgical robot to be advantageous in surgeries where tumors or other elements must be removed from the body, in particular:

Robotic thymectomy. Since 2003, Dr. Fang has used surgical robotics to remove tumors in the chest. This technique allows tumor removal via a smaller incision than a traditional thymectomy.

Minimally invasive single vessel bypass.
The surgical robot is used to harvest the donor vessel to perform bypass of the left anterior descending blood vessel.

What should patients know about robotic surgery?

The important thing to know is that robotic surgery is simply another approach; it’s just another tool, no different than using a pair of scissors or a cauterizer. The surgeon invests time to master the tool and use it to its highest and best use.

Because the robots can be quite costly,$2 million for the robotic unit itself and $25,000 for the “disposable” elements employed for each patient, access to robotics can be limited. Hospitals typically have just 1 or 2 units for all the surgeries. This limited access may also be a factor in your surgeon's choice of approach for your surgery.

There are also cases where your surgeon has found that a traditional technique may be preferable, either because the results are better, or because the risk is lower with a non-robotic approach.

Rest assured that no matter what technique is used, your surgeon from Phoenix Cardiac Surgery is highly skilled and experienced, and you will receive the best care available.