Lung Cancer Surgery - Robotic & VATS

Why Choose Hoag for Lung Surgery?

When it comes to diagnosing and treating lung cancer, Hoag Family Cancer Institute is a nationally recognized leader, performing the highest volume minimally-invasive lung surgeries in Southern California.

Our expert surgical team at Hoag performs more robotic procedures than any other medical center in Orange County. Being a high-volume lung surgery program enables the lung cancer experts at Hoag to achieve a technical skill level not all facilities can match.



Robotic Surgery to Treat Lung Cancer

Hoag is a recognized leader in robotic-assisted surgery as the highest volume provider in Orange County. Using our advanced da Vinci® robotic platform offers a highly precise, minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery. Consisting of an ergonomically designed surgeon’s console, a patient-side cart with interactive robotic arms, a high-performance vision system and proprietary EndoWrist® Instruments via four robotic arms, these interactive instruments both mimic and enhance the surgeon’s own hand movements, rendering them more precise by minimizing even the slightest hand tremor – an important element when operating on delicate lung tissue. By dramatically enhancing visualization, precision, control and dexterity, robotic-assisted surgery overcomes the limitations of conventional procedures, helping physicians to perform highly complex surgery with increased precision and excellent patient outcomes.

Patient Benefits of Robotically-Assisted Surgery

Robotic lung surgery provides many potential advantages compared to conventional surgery, including:

  • Less risk of complications, such as post-operative infection, blood loss and blood transfusions
  • Less pain and scarring
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery, enabling a quicker return to normal activities
Who is a Candidate for Robotic-Assisted Lung Surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery is not appropriate for every patient needing lung surgery. Since the goal is a successful surgical result, each patient is evaluated individually to determine if robotic-assisted surgery is the best option for the individual patient.

Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) to Treat Lung Cancer

VATS is a minimally invasive approach to lung cancer surgery requiring only four small incisions without rib spreading or muscle damage, as compared to conventional thoracotomy (lung surgery) which requires a six to eight inch incision, spreading of the ribs, and possibly severing muscles. During a VATS procedure, surgical instruments and a thoracoscope with a small camera lens are inserted through these small openings, producing high-resolution images on a video monitor that provides the VATS surgeon with a detailed, magnified view of the surgical site. A segment, lobe or entire lung can be removed through a VATS procedure, depending on the patient’s condition and extent of cancer.

About 75 percent of lung cancer patients are candidates for this minimally-invasive procedure. This procedure is especially beneficial for patients who may otherwise have been considered inoperable due to their age, or other complicating medical conditions.

Patient Benefits of VATS

The minimally-invasive VATS technique offers clear advantages over the open-chest traditional thoracotomy procedure, including:

  • Small, keyhole incisions
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Less risk of post-operative complications
  • Faster recovery time

VATS provides a safe, minimally invasive approach to lung cancer surgery. Additionally, VATS has been shown to result in cancer survival rates that are equal to, or better than, traditional open procedures, which is why it’s the preferred surgical treatment option at Hoag Family Cancer Institute.

Who is a Candidate for VATS?

Individuals with localized, early stages of lung cancer are optimal candidates for surgery, and specifically the VATS procedure. Additionally, older patients (particularly those with complex medical conditions) tend to tolerate the VATS procedure much better than the open, traditional procedure. However, candidates still must be physically strong enough to tolerate surgery.

Individuals with regionally advanced stages of lung disease can often be treated aggressively with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy in an effort to shrink the cancer enough to make it surgically removable.