National Leaders in Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery

Procedures

Our Thoracic Surgery Program has received the Highest Quality Ranking for Lung Cancer Surgery from the STS (Society of Thoracic Surgeons)

Lung Cancer Surgery

The standard treatment for curable lung cancer remains pulmonary lobectomy, which can be performed through a minimally invasive approach, utilizing robotic technology to perform a more precise operation leading to shorter hospital stays, less pain and earlier recovery with the potential for improved survival as a result of the minimally invasive technique. Despite the proven benefits of minimally invasive surgery, only a small percentage of surgeons are able to perform these procedures. 

Robotic Laparoscopic Heller Myotomy

First treated in 1672 by Sir Thomas Willis, achalasia had been traditionally treated with esophageal dilatation. Robotic Heller Myotomy combined with partial fundoplication represents state of the art treatment for achalasia, resulting in symptomatic relief of dysphagia in over 90% with the smallest chance of esophageal perforation, when compared with esophageal dilatation, which is associated with 70% improvement of symptoms and up to 6% perforation rate. Medications have been shown to ineffective in treatment of achalasia. Botox is reserved for patients who are unfit for surgery, but is a temporary treatment without longterm success.

Robotic Esophageal Tumor Resection

The application of robotic instrumentation to minimally invasive surgery gives the surgeon the ability to have 10X magnification, 4X optical zoom in addition to limiting motion to allow for a more detailed visualization of the anatomy which can lead to a more precise resection and overall surgical procedure.

Myasthenia Gravis and Robotic Thymectomy

What is Myasthenia Gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is a weakening of the muscles. It generally affects the skeletal or voluntary muscles such as those in and around the eye, face, jaw and throat; interfering with vision, swallowing, breathing and even walking. The illness is in the category “autoimmune” which is defined as any disease in which the cells of the body attack itself. In the case of myasthenia gravis, the immune system of the body creates antibodies that interfere or destroy the messages sent from nerve endings to the muscles. The result is a weakening of those muscles and loss of movement. It is considered “chronic” meaning long-lasting and recurring, but treatable.

The thymus gland, located in our upper chests, is an important part of our immune system. People with myasthenia gravis have a poorly functioning thymus gland.

What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis?
Myasthenia gravis is often characterized by noticeably weak or droopy eyes and eyelids and unusual facial expressions; however, there could also be persistent muscle fatigue throughout the body. Other symptoms include blurred vision, slurred speech, pain while chewing or swallowing, weakened limbs and even labored breathing. Many of these symptoms are often hard to distinguish from normal tiredness or weariness and the severity of weakness varies greatly between people. If you often feel excessively tired and you frequently notice your muscles not responding as you intend, it is time to contact your physician to be tested for myasthenia gravis.

How do our physicians test for myasthenia gravis?
Your doctor will begin your diagnosis by conducting several different types of specialized blood, muscle and breathing tests as well as neurological exams. A Computed Tomography (or CT) screening is used to determine the health of your thymus gland. You can aid the process by coming to the office with a detailed journal of when and how often your symptoms occur being specific in the location of your muscle weakness.

What is the treatment for myasthenia gravis?
Once your diagnosis is complete your doctor will plot a course of treatment tailored to your precise needs, symptoms and medical history. Your doctor’s goal is to control your symptoms so you may return to a full and satisfying lifestyle. Though a cure for myasthenia gravis is still unknown, medications and other procedures are used to provide relief from muscle fatigue.

If medications are not successful at controlling the disorder, your doctor may recommend a procedure called “thymectomy” (or surgical removal of the thymus gland). This surgery has proven successful in reducing the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.

Our surgeons perform the thymectomy in a minimally invasive way called "robotic thymectomy” which involves making several small or “keyhole” size incisions in the chest. Then tiny video cameras and instruments are used to view and take out the thymus gland. Patients generally have a quicker recovery time with this procedure rather than traditional surgery and experience less pain and complications after surgery.