Pulmonary resection has been a cornerstone in the management of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for decades. In recent years, the popularity of minimally-invasive techniques as the primary method to manage NSCLC has grown significantly. With smaller incisions and a lower incidence of peri-operative complications, minimally-invasive lung resection, accomplished through keyhole incisions with miniaturized cameras and similarly small instruments that work through surgical ports, has been shown to retain equivalent oncologic outcomes to the traditional gold standard open thoracotomy. This technique allows for the safe performance of anatomic lung resection with complete lymphadenectomy and has been a part of thoracic surgery practice for three decades. Robotic-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (RATS) represents another major advancement for lung resection, broadening the opportunity for patients to undergo minimally invasive surgery for NSCLC, and therefore allowing a greater percentage of the lung cancer population to benefit from many of the advantages previously demonstrated from video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) techniques. RATS surgery is also associated with several technical advantages to the surgeon. For a surgeon who performs open procedures and is looking to adopt a minimally invasive approach, RATS ergonomics are a natural transition compared to VATS, particularly given the multiple degrees of freedom associated with robotic articulating instruments. As a result, this platform has been adopted as a primary approach in numerous institutions across the United States. In this chapter, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of robotic-assisted surgery for NSCLC and discuss the implications for increased adoption of minimally invasive surgery in the future of lung cancer treatment.
Part of the book: Lung Cancer