Recently, Winthrop-University Hospital,
a leader in minimally invasive surgical
techniques, became the first hospital on
Long Island to perform a Robotic Video
Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) lobectomy
utilizing the ultra high-tech daVinci
Si HD Surgical System.
The first robotic-assisted lung surgery
on Long Island was performed by Board
certified cardiothoracic surgeon John
Goncalves, MD, with the support of a
dedicated robotics team. This leadingedge
procedure utilized the daVinci's
state-of-the-art capabilities – including
3-D High Definition visualization of the
chest cavity and precise, flexible surgical
tools – to perform minimally invasive surgery
to remove a tumor from the lung of
79-year-old patient, Enrique Figueroa.
Traditional surgery in the chest
cavity to remove masses in the lobe of
the lung can be debilitating and very
painful. Surgeons must cut between the
ribs in order to access the lung, leaving
patients with a large incision on the
side of the chest and a long and painful
post-operative recovery. Lobectomy
with the daVinci enabled Dr.
Goncalves to remove a centralized
tumor from Mr. Figueroa's right lower
lobe without the need for large incisions
or spreading of the ribs.
"DaVinci surgery is improving
upon the gold standard of traditional
open surgery," said Dr. Goncalves.
"Unlike thoracotomy (traditional lung
surgery) which requires a long incision
and often a long recovery, surgery with
the daVinci is minimally invasive. It is
performed with three small incisions,
and spreading the patient's ribs to access
the lung is avoided. The end result is
a more delicate and precise surgical
procedure with smaller incisions, less
post-operative pain and shorter hospital
stays for most patients."
Seated at a high-tech console located
just a few feet away from Mr. Figueroa,
Dr. Goncalves attached his fingers to
robotic controls, and set his eyes on the
high-definition screen where a real-time
3-D, magnified image of Mr. Figueroa's
lung cavity provided a better-than-real
view of the operative site. Three small
incisions made in Mr. Figueroa's chest
provided an entry point for robotic arms,
equipped with flexible tools and a camera.
Proprietary EndoWrist® instruments,
situated at the end of the robotic arms,
enabled Dr. Goncalves to perform highly
precise movements within Mr. Figueroa's
chest cavity to remove the section of his
lung containing the tumor while minimizing
damage to the chest wall and
Winthrop cardiothoracic surgeon John
Goncalves, MD, used the daVinci Si HD
dual console system to perform the first
Robotic Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery
(VATS) lobectomy on Long Island.
Winthrop was the first hospital on
Long Island to acquire the daVinci Si
HD dual console system, and Dr.
Goncalves is extremely excited about the
optical quality of the advanced system.
As he said, "When I'm operating, I'm
right there. It's as if someone miniaturized
me and put me inside of the
The procedure was completed in
approximately two hours and Mr.
Figueroa, whose tumor was benign, was
discharged from the Hospital just three
days later with no post-operative pain.
Following the success of Mr. Figueroa's
lung cancer surgery, Dr. Goncalves and
his colleagues have since performed several
more robotic-assisted lung surgery cases.
"I use the daVinci in selective cases.
Patients must have a limited disease in
their chest or an isolated nodule in the
lung with minimal evidence of hilar
nodal involvement," said Dr. Goncalves.
The number of Winthrop surgeons
trained to utilize this highly effective
robotic tool to perform surgeries that
previously required traditional open
surgeries is growing rapidly. Winthrop
physicians from various specialties have
undergone extensive training on the
daVinci to offer an emerging standardof-
care treatment with the potential for
outcomes that are equal to or better than
conventional surgery. Among the fastest
growing specialty procedures being performed
at Winthrop with the daVinci
surgical robot are hysterectomies, gynecological
oncology surgeries, colon
resections, gastric bypass, partial
nephrectomies, and prostatectomies.
"Winthrop will continue to transform
the high-tech, minimally invasive
surgical experience for patients and
surgeons alike," said John F. Collins,
Winthrop's President & CEO. "With a
growing number of our physicians undergoing
training in specialized techniques,
Winthrop is expanding its advanced surgical
services to become the fastest growing
robotics program in the Northeast."
For additional information about
minimally invasive surgical services at
Winthrop, call 1-866-WINTHROP.
Vol. 21, No. 1
Back to Publications