'The future' is now with da Vinci lung surgery
Charles James didn’t hesitate to become the first Baptist Health Paducah patient to have da Vinci lung surgery in May.
“I knew this was the new way, and it’s going to be the future,” said James, 66, of Hickory. “I talked to some people who had lung surgery the old way, and their experience was a whole lot worse than what I went through.”
James’ lung cancer was removed through a 3-inch incision, and he left the hospital two days later.
Cardiothoracic surgeon K. Ken Ung, M.D., began using the robot to remove early stage lung cancer this spring. Dr. Ung, assisted by cardiothoracic surgeon Carl Johnson, M.D., also is trained to perform heart surgery with the robot.
Baptist Health Paducah has the area’s only dual-robot program. More than 600 people have benefited from shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery close to home, since Baptist Health Paducah brought the first da Vinci to western Kentucky in 2009; it added the second system this spring. Other robotic procedures include hysterectomy, treatment of throat cancer, removal of the prostate and partial removal of the kidney.
Da Vinci lung surgery requires a significantly smaller incision than other minimally invasive techniques and creates less discomfort and scarring for the patient, Dr. Ung said.
“The safety and efficacy of robotics technology has been well-documented,” Dr. Ung said. “Experts in our field say it is a day and night difference in terms of the surgeon being able to visualize during surgery; and it’s an exciting tool for my cardiothoracic patients, especially when we transition to robotic heart surgery, doing robotic valves or robotic bypasses.”
The da Vinci seamlessly translates the surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient in an area smaller than would be required for the surgeon’s hands.
James, who quit smoking two years ago, had no symptoms before an X-ray revealed a spot in his lung last fall. Dr. Ung removed all signs of cancer during the surgery.
“I’m tickled to death with Dr. Ung and how things turned out,” James said. “He is a fine doctor, and he really cares.”
For additional information, see westernbaptist.com/davinci