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Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery

At Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, we take advantage of the latest technologies to provide less invasive and robotic surgical treatments that are at the forefront of surgical care.

We believe these advanced procedures offer comparable or even better outcomes than open approaches, and greatly reduce patient discomfort and recovery time. We conduct ongoing analysis of these treatments and services, based on patient outcomes and feedback, to improve our surgical procedures and services.

Research has shown that video-assisted and robotic thoracic procedures offer equivalent or improved outcomes over traditional options, and speed recovery for the patient:

  • Smaller incisions reduce post-surgery pain and scarring
  • Less pain means the patient often requires less pain medication
  • Shortened hospital stays and faster recovery time
  • Additional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can begin sooner
  • Patients can return to work and everyday activities earlier

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)

VATS involves a range of technologies to enable removal of cancer through several small cuts in the chest. A tiny camera, light supply and surgical tools are inserted in the incisions and through the body to the surgical site.

Robotic video-assisted thoracic surgery (RVATS)

In RVATS, the surgeon controls the camera, light source and surgical tools from a console, with the same degree of flexibility and dexterity as if they were held in the surgeon's hand. The tiny size of the instruments and the precision movement of the robotic arms allow the surgeon to operate in small and hard-to-reach places in the chest cavity, and to move carefully around sensitive blood vessels, tissues and organs, enabling more difficult procedures to be performed with RVATS versus open surgery.

Robot-assisted minimally invasive esophagectomy (RAMIE)

Like RVATS, in a robot-assisted esophagectomy, called a RAMIE, the surgeon controls the camera, light source and surgical tools from a console, using the precision movement of the robotic arms and tiny instruments to remove diseased tissue in the esophagus and surrounding tissues, and then rebuild the esophagus.

Page reviewed on: Jun 26, 2015

Page reviewed by: Dr. David J. Finley

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