World's first single-hole lung cancer surgery performed in city

Local medical experts carried out the world’s first single-hole, robot-assisted surgery for early-stage lung cancer, Shanghai Chest Hospital announced today.

The surgery was conducted with the help of a three-arm da Vinci surgical system, a new surgical procedure that expands the use of the system, said Dr Luo Qingquan, the leading surgeon.

News of the first-ever surgery was published in the journal Translational Lung Cancer Research, in which Luo shared his experiences, techniques and processes.

Luo first carried out a robotic-assisted pulmonary lobectomy in China in 2009. Shanghai Chest Hospital has performed the most robotic-assisted thoracic surgeries in the nation.

Currently, robotic-assisted surgery leaves three to four small cuts on a patient’s body. To make the procedure less invasive, Luo has been studying the use of multiple-arm robots to assist in single-hole operations.

With this new technique, only one 4-centimeter hole is required during surgery and patients can walk freely the next day, expediting their recovery and hospital discharge.

In addition to studying additional uses of the robotic surgery system, Luo is partnering with scientists to develop a system made in China. Currently, most robotic surgical systems used in hospitals are imported.

“We are partnering with teams at places such as Shanghai Jiao Tong University and hope a Chinese system can be used in clinical practice soon,” Luo said. “Animal tests have been completed and we will further perfect the system.”

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