Lung Resection In-Depth

How is a lung resection performed?

Traditionally, lung resections were performed using open surgery through the chest wall, which required a large incision and lengthy recuperation.

Advances in robotic surgery technology have now made it possible to perform these procedures using minimally invasive surgery techniques. This significantly reduces the size of the incision our surgeons make, as well as reduces patients’ pain, length of hospitalization, recuperation time and risk of infection.

What’s robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery is an exciting and promising area of minimally invasive surgery. Using a high-tech robot, specially trained surgeons perform complex operations through very small surgical openings. What this means for you and your child: less pain, faster recoveries, shorter hospital stays, smaller scars and wider smiles.

In 2001, Boston Children's Hospital was the first pediatric hospital to acquire a surgical robot. Today, surgeons use the technology for many procedures and perform more pediatric robotic surgeries on more children than any other hospital in the world.

Boston Children's specialists have even worked with engineers and medical device manufacturers to develop and refine the robotic equipment specifically for use in children, and they train surgeons from around the world on its use.

Recently, Boston Children’s upgraded to the newest version of the robotic system.

The new robot is much smaller (making it easier to move around, vastly reducing set-up time) and features enhanced high-definition 3D vision and two consoles so that surgeons can collaborate during a procedure.

What are the benefits of robotic surgery for a my child’s lung resection?

  • Robotic surgery helps your child recover faster.
  • The surgical robot’s miniaturized equipment is precise and flexible, and its enhanced imaging provides sharp, clear, 3-D views of the operating site. During robotic surgery, two or three small (1/2" or less) incisions allow a camera and tiny robotic surgical instruments inside the body. Each subtle movement of the surgeon's wrists, hands, and fingers is precisely translated to the tiny surgical instruments inside your child’s body.
  • This adds up to less pain, smaller incisions and faster recovery, all things that can bring a smile to your face — and your child’s.

What is the outlook for a child who has a lung resection?

The long-term outlook for most children who have a lung resection is excellent. In the rare case that your child needs a lung transplant, the Lung Transplant Program at Boston Children's Hospital evaluates children who are potential candidates for transplantation, and manages the care of children who have received transplanted lungs.