Thoracic Surgery Using the da Vinci Surgical System

Thoracic SurgeryThe Thoracic Surgery Service at The George Washington University Hospital offers diagnosis and surgical treatment for the organs inside the chest, including the lungs, esophagus, diaphragm and chest wall. Cardiac surgery is provided by The George Washington University Cardiovascular Center.

Surgeons at The Thoracic Surgery Service use the da Vinci® Surgical System to perform many thoracic procedures with minimally invasive, robotic techniques.

Benefits of the da Vinci Surgical System

The da Vinci Surgical System’s binocular robotic camera provides three-dimensional visualization, while the system’s robotic arm gives surgeons the access and control they need to successfully perform a number of minimally invasive thoracic surgical procedures.

By using the da Vinci system, surgeons are able to avoid making a large incision in the chest, similar to that required for open-heart surgery. Because there are several small incisions, instead of a single large opening in the chest, patients usually realize a number of benefits that include:

  • Shorter hospital stays.
  • Less pain.
  • Quicker recoveries.
  • Reduced chance of infection and other complications.
  • A quicker return to normal activity.
  • Less scarring.
  • Decreased inflammation of body tissue.
  • Less bleeding and reduced need for blood transfusion.

Among the robotic procedures offered at GW Hospital are:

Robotic lobectomy for lung cancer

Lobectomy, or the surgical removal of a cancerous lobe in the lung, is the standard treatment of early-stage non small-cell lung cancer. Until recently, this procedure required a large incision that could cause the patient significant pain and a long recovery period.
Read more >

Robotic esophagectomy

There are approximately 16,5000 new cases of cancer of the esophagus diagnosed in the United States every year. Some patients may require surgical removal of the esophagus as part of their treatment. In the past, surgery meant large incisions to remove the cancerous esophagus, long painful recoveries and an extended period of time in which patients were not able to eat.
Read more >

Robotic resection of mediastinal masses

The mediastinum is the portion of the chest cavity between the lungs. When tumors or other masses grow in the mediastinum—such as thymoma or lymphoma—surgeons can remove the masses robotically through small incisions instead of the large incisions required with traditional open surgery.
Read more >

Robotic thymectomy for myasthenia gravis

The removal of the thymus gland is often a recommended treatment for patients who have myasthenia gravis, which is a neuromuscular disorder that can cause muscle weakness. Traditional surgery involves a large, length-wise incision along the breastbone, similar to that used for open-heart surgery.
Read more >

Esophogeal myotomy for achalasia

Achalasia is a disorder that affects the ability of the esophagus to move food toward the stomach. Left untreated, achalasia can result in the widening of the esophagus to the point at which it begins to function as a reservoir instead of a conduit. That can lead to infection, obstruction and even the development of esophageal cancer. Surgeons can correct this condition using a procedure called myotomy, in which the esophageal muscle is cut and repositioned.
Read more >

Resection of the first rib for thoracic outlet syndrome

When a patient has thoracic outlet syndrome—a rare condition in which patients experience pain in the neck and shoulder, numbness and tingling in the fingers and a weak grip—removing a section of the first rib to relieve pressure from nerves and/or blood vessels can often correct the condition.
Read more >

Robotic laparoscopic Belsey fundoplasty for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

The most common disease in humans, GERD affects nearly 20 percent of Americans. Nearly everyone experiences GERD from time to time, but it can lead to injury of the esophagus and upper digestive track, as well as esophageal cancer, if it is experienced on an ongoing basis. Belsey fundoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical technique that can correct problems with the esophagus that lead to GERD.
Read more >

Keith Mortman, MD, FACS, FCCP is board-certified in cardiothoracic surgery and the Director of Thoracic Surgery.
Farzad Najam, MD, serves as the associate director of cardiac surgery and assistant clinical professor of cardiac surgery at The George Washington University Hospital.


The George Washington University Hospital is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.          

The George Washington University Hospital

900 23rd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037

© 2015 The George Washington University Hospital. All rights reserved.

Note:The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither The George Washington University Hospital , or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.            

The information, content and artwork provided by this Web site is intended for non-commercial use by the reader. The reader is permitted to make one copy of the information displayed for his/her own non-commercial use. The making of additional copies is prohibited.