|Keyhole incisions and specialized equipment are used for a robot-assisted thoracic procedure.|
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Reasons for Procedure
- Require precision
- Do not require open access
- Thymectomy —removal of the thymus gland
- Lobectomy —removal of a lung lobe
- Esophagectomy —removal of the esophagus
- Mediastinal tumor resection —removal of tumors located in the mediastinum, which is the part of the chest cavity that separates the lungs
- Sympathectomy—cauterizing a portion of the sympathetic nerve
- Less scarring
- Reduced recovery times
- Less risk of infection
- Less blood loss
- Reduced trauma to the body
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster recovery
- Collection of air or gases in the lung cavity
- Collapsed lung
- Need for a prolonged artificial respiration on a breathing machine
- Damage to nearby organs or structures
- The need to switch to traditional surgical methods such as traditional laparoscopic or open surgery
- Anesthesia-related problems
- Nerve damage
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Physical exam
- Blood tests and urine tests
- Chest x-ray
- Pulmonary function test
- Upper GI series
- Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Upper endoscopy
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medications
- Take antibiotics if instructed.
- Follow a special diet if instructed.
- Take a laxative and/or use an enema to clean out your intestines if instructed.
- Shower the night before using antibacterial soap if instructed.
- Arrange for someone to drive you home from the hospital. Also, have someone to help you at home.
- Eat a light meal the night before. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Assistance sitting up and moving around soon after surgery
- Instructions on what you should eat and how to restrict your activity
- Nutrition through an IV or feeding tube in the days after surgery; you will gradually progress from a liquid to a solid diet
- Directions on how to do deep breathing and coughing exercises
- Take antibiotics to prevent infection if instructed.
- Avoid certain medicines.
- Resume normal activities. This will promote healing.
- Wash the incisions with mild soap and water.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Limit certain activities, such as driving, working, doing strenuous exercise, until you have recovered.
- Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.
Call Your Doctor
- Cough or shortness of breath
- Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
- New chest pain
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from an incision site
- Pain and/or swelling in your feet, calves, or legs
- Other worrisome symptoms
American College of Surgeons http://www.facs.org
Society of Thoracic Surgeons http://www.sts.org
Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health http://www.cadth.ca
Canadian Lung Association http://www.lung.ca
Rea F, Marulli G, Bortolotti L. Robotic video-assisted thoracoscopic thymectomy. Multimedia Manual of Cardiothoracic Surgery website. Available at: http://mmcts.ctsnetjournals.org/cgi/content/full/2005/0324/mmcts.2004.000422 . Published March 24, 2005. Accessed July 25, 2013.
Sympathectomy. New York Presbyterian Hospital website. Available at: http://www.nyp.org/health/sympathectomy.html . Accessed July 25. 2013.
Thymectomy. Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America website. Available at: http://www.myasthenia.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=BIVoreOXJGo%3D . Accessed July 25, 2013.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -