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Lung cancer is one of the most common tumors worldwide. Until recently the standard surgical approach for the treatment of lung cancer included a large rib spreading incision called a thoracotomy.

We are currently performing thoracoscopic lobectomies for appropriately selected patients with lung cancer and have been deeply involved with the development of a robotic system to further improve our techniques. The operation involves three basic steps:

1) First, three small incisions are created between the ribs that allows for the insertion of a small camera and telescopic instruments.

2) Next, the lobe within which the tumor resides is then removed. It is important to remove this tissue to decrease the likelihood that the tumor will recur.

3) Finally, the surgeon will also remove lymph glands within the chest in order to stage the lung cancer as accurately as possible.

Most patients following a thoracoscopic lobectomy can anticipate a three to four day length of stay. We are hopeful that those patients who undergo a thoracoscopic lobectomy may have improved breathing function earlier as a result of the less invasive and less painful procedure. We have also noted a decrease in the need for narcotics in patients who have undergone thoracoscopic resection.

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