updated 9/28/2010 1:16:35 PM ET 2010-09-28T17:16:35

Doctors Use Robots to Execute Precision in This High-Performance, Minimally Invasive Technique

A Milestone for NY-Area Healthcare

MINEOLA, N.Y., Sept. 28, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Winthrop-University Hospital, a leader in minimally invasive surgical techniques, is the first hospital on Long Island to perform Robotic Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) lobectomy utilizing the ultra high-tech daVinci Surgical System.

A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8064

The first robotic-assisted lung surgery on Long Island was performed on August 17, 2010 by Board certified cardiothoracic surgeon John Goncalves, MD, with the support of a dedicated robotics team. This leading-edge procedure utilized the daVinci's state-of-the-art capabilities - including 3-D High Definition visualization of the chest cavity and precise, flexible surgical tools - to perform minimally invasive surgery to remove a tumor from the lung of 79-year-old Franklin Square resident, Enrique Figueroa.

"Winthrop's success in performing the first robotic VATS lobectomy with the daVinci is a tremendous milestone - not only for the Hospital's growing robotics program, but also for lung surgery techniques across Long Island," said Garry Schwall, Winthrop's Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Following the success of Mr. Figuera's lung cancer surgery, Dr. Goncalves and his colleagues have performed several more robotic-assisted lung surgery cases, with the fifth and sixth taking place on Friday, September 24.

Traditional surgery in the chest cavity to remove masses in the lobe of the lung can be debilitating and often very painful. Surgeons must cut between the ribs in order to access the lung, leaving patients with a large incision on the side of the chest and a long and painful post-operative recovery. Lobectomy with the daVinci enabled Dr. Goncalves to remove a centralized tumor from Mr. Figueroa's right lower lobe without the need for large incisions or spreading of the ribs. 

"DaVinci surgery is improving upon the gold standard of traditional open surgery," said Dr. Goncalves. "Unlike thoracotomy - traditional lung surgery - which requires a long incision and often a long recovery, surgery with the daVinci is minimally invasive. It is performed with three small incisions, and spreading the patient's ribs to access the lung is avoided."

Seated at a high-tech console located just a few feet away from Mr. Figueroa, Dr. Goncalves attached his fingers to robotic controls, and set his eyes on the high-definition screen where a real-time 3-D, magnified image of Mr. Figueroa's lung cavity provided a better-than-real view of the operative site. Three small incisions made in Mr. Figueroa's chest provided an entry point for robotic arms, equipped with flexible tools and a camera. Proprietary EndoWrist® instruments, situated at the end of the robotic arms, enabled Dr. Goncalves to perform highly precise movements within Mr. Figueroa's chest cavity to remove the section of his lung containing the tumor while minimizing damage to the chest wall and surrounding tissues.

Winthrop remains the only hospital on Long Island with the newest DaVinci technology - the daVinci Si Dual Console. Dr. Goncalves himself is extremely excited about the capabilities of this advanced system. As he said, "It's as if someone miniaturized me and put me inside of the patient's chest!"

The procedure was completed in approximately two hours and Mr. Figueroa, whose tumor was benign, was discharged from the Hospital just three days later with no post operative pain.

"The majority of thoracic tumors can be approached with daVinci surgery," said Dr. Goncalves. "The end result is a more delicate and precise surgical procedure with smaller incisions, less post-operative pain and a shorter hospital stays for most patients."

It is the hope of Winthrop's cardiothoracic team to continue to expand the possibilities for patients by adding minimally invasive single vessel bypass and revascularization to the armamentarium of surgical treatment options with the daVinci.       

The number of Winthrop surgeons trained to utilize this highly effective robotic tool to perform surgeries that previously required traditional open surgeries is growing rapidly. Winthrop physicians from various specialties have undergone extensive training on the daVinci to offer standard-of-care treatment with the potential for outcomes that are equal to or better than conventional surgery. Among the fastest growing specialty procedures being performed at Winthrop with the daVinci surgical robot are hysterectomies, gynecological oncology surgeries, colon resections, gastric bypass, partial nephrectomies, mitral valve repair and prostatectomies.

"Winthrop-University Hospital will continue to transform the high-tech, minimally invasive surgical experience for patients and surgeons alike," said John F. Collins, Winthrop's President & CEO. "With a growing number of our physicians undergoing training in specialized techniques, Winthrop is expanding its advanced surgical services to become the fastest growing robotics program in the North East."  

For more information about minimally invasive surgical services at Winthrop-University Hospital, call 1-866-WINTHROP.

The photo is also available via AP PhotoExpress.

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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