Moffitt Cancer Center uses robotic-assisted surgery to ease pain, recovery of cancer patients

Inside the OR at Moffitt Cancer Center

TAMPA - Marvin Marshall is sitting up, watching TV and even eating, just one day after surgery.  Doctors removed one third of his right lung due to cancer. 

The reason for his swift recovery?  Doctor Eric Toloza says it's because of robotic-assisted surgery he performed on Marvin. 

In general, says the doctor, it's better for patients because "they're smaller incisions that we use compared to the open procedure."  There is a "quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays, less pain and also less complications, because there's less inflammation and less bleeding during the surgery. "

The minimally invasive alternative also helps the surgeon by providing a 3-D enhanced visualization as they operate the robot from a station adjacent to the operating bed.  And it gives doctors increased ability to remove tumors from hard-to-reach areas within the lungs and chest cavity.  

It's becoming so popular, robotics are being used at Moffitt for many different cancers. Dr. Toloza says, "Gynecologists and urologists do hysterectomies and prostatectomies to remove uterine cancers and prostate cancers, which are deep in the pelvis and sometimes hard to get to, even with a large open incision."

Doctor Toloza says this type of surgery is also an option for older patients like Marvin, who may not have been candidates for more invasive surgery due to their age or condition.

While Marvin doesn't understand all that, he does know one day after his cancer was removed he's feeling well enough to give us a thumbs up.

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