Robotic Total Thymectomy: Robot Assisted Medical Procedure

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Within the last few years, robots have been making an increasingly popular appearance in operating rooms. Robots are now being used to assist surgeons in multiple different medical procedures. One of the medical procedures that can now be done using a robot is a total thymectomy. A robotic total thymectomy is a less invasive technique used to perform this procedure.

Why is a Robotic Total Thymectomy Needed?

The thymus gland plays a vital role in the body. It aids the body’s immune system in the production of T-cell lymphocytes. These cells stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight off illness and infection. Sometimes a condition occurs when muscle receptors are damaged from this process involving the thymus gland. This can cause complications of serious weakness and fatigue. To treat this problem a thymectomy is preformed.

Robotic Total Thymectomy

Often, a robotic total thymectomy is the choice surgeons pick to perform this procedure. It is also known as the da Vinci Thymectomy. This form of the procedure is less invasive than other forms. It uses a robotic surgical system to allow the surgeon to perform the procedure with more precision.

The benefits of this procedure are a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time. There is less risk of infection, pain, and scarring. There is also less blood loss with this technique.

How is it Performed?

For this procedure, three small one inch incisions are made into the left side of the chest. A small scope and robotically controlled surgical instruments are inserted into the incisions. The scope gives a surgeon a 3D visual of the procedure. The robotic tools allow the surgeon to carefully and precisely remove the thymus gland.

When this procedure is performed there is no need to cut the sternum of spread the ribs. The procedure only takes about an hour and patients can generally leave the hospital in about 24 hours.

What is the Recovery Process?

During the recovery process, a small chest tube is inserted into the chest to help drain any fluid and re-expand the lung. The chest tube is often removed before the patient leaves the hospital. When the robot assisted surgery is preformed, the recovery time is only one to two weeks.

References:

“Robotic Thymectomy” UW Health

“A Comparison of Outcomes after Robotic Open Extended Thymectomy for Myasthenia Gravis” European Journals