Advances in surgical procedures involving the chest (thorax) mean that many surgeries
no longer require opening the chest, but can be done with small incisions, typically
less than the size of a dime, which provide great benefits for patients.
Surgeons at the UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville are leaders in minimally
invasive procedures, often pioneering techniques that have become standards of care
in other hospitals.
Minimally invasive surgery, often called video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, has
been performed at UF Health Jacksonville since 1990, and our surgeons introduced
robotic-assisted thoracic surgery to the region. Today, UF Health Jacksonville employs
the da Vinci Xi Surgical System, the most advanced and precise robotic surgical
platform available. We are the only hospital in the region to have two da Vinci
University of Florida physicians at UF Health Jacksonville offer more options for
minimally invasive and robotically assisted surgeries than anywhere else in Northeast
Florida and Southeast Georgia. In fact, some minimally invasive and robotic surgery
techniques performed at UF Health Jacksonville are not offered anywhere else in
We are the only facility providing robotic-assisted lung lobectomies for cancer
Who Qualifies for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Thoracic Surgery?
You may be a candidate for minimally invasive and robotic thoracic surgery if you
need any of the following:
- Biopsy of the lung or lymph nodes
- Removal of suspicious lung nodules
- Treatment of pneumothorax (air inside the chest from ruptured lung tissue)
- Diaphragmatic plication (tightening of a paralyzed diaphragm muscle to improve breathing)
- Removal of a section of a lung
- Removal of the entire lung
- Aortic valve repair or replacement
- Mitral valve repair or replacement
- Minimally invasive tricuspid valve repair or replacement
- Abnormal enlargement or aneurysms of the large arteries in the chest
- Artery revascularization
- Transmyocardial Laser Revascularization (TMR)
UF Health Cardiovascular Center – Jacksonville surgeons are experts in these and
a number of other cardiothoracic procedures.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Thoracic Surgery
The small incisions used provide many advantages over traditional surgery, including:
- Quicker recovery
- Shorter hospital stay
- Less pain and scarring
- Less risk of infection
- Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
- Quicker return to normal activities
- Decreased need for post-surgery medications
- Smaller, less obvious incision
What to Expect During Minimally Invasive and Robotic Thoracic Surgery
Generally, your surgeon makes two to four tiny cuts into the chest cavity through
which to insert surgical instruments. Laparoscopic tools along with a small camera
are used for minimally invasive surgeries. By watching a high-definition video monitor
the surgeon guides the tools, to make needed repairs or remove tissue.
Using the da Vinci Xi, surgeons control the robotic arms which hold surgical tools
and a special camera. Viewing a 3D image of inside the chest cavity, the surgeon
can perform the repairs or tissue removal with the highest degree of precision possible.
Once the procedure is complete, the surgeon removes the laparoscopic tools or robotic
arms and closes the small incisions with stitches.
Recovering from Minimally Invasive and Robotic Thoracic Surgery
Recovery from minimally invasive and robotic thoracic surgery is generally much
easier and faster than recovery from traditional open surgery. However, you should
still expect to take some down time from your normal activities and work. Your recovery
plan will be tailored to your individual needs, but you can generally expect:
- A prescription for medicine to help control the pain, so you can relax and heal
- A prescription for medicine to prevent blood clots from forming in your replacement
valve; you may need to take it for about six months after surgery
- Instructions on how to care for your incision site, such as how to dress and cover
the wound, and how to bathe while it heals
- Education on how to follow a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and
vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains; you may need to avoid
foods that are high in salt, cholesterol and saturated fats
- The opportunity to attend regular cardiovascular rehabilitation once you are ready
to return to physical activity
Your surgeon will speak with you about your recovery and any related restrictions
before you leave the hospital.
Why Choose UF Health Jacksonville for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Thoracic Surgery?
Providing more treatment options than other facilities in the region often means
better outcomes for cardiovascular patients. Because our cardiothoracic surgeons
are professors and researchers in one of the nation’s largest cardiothoracic training
programs as part of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville,
you have the advantage of leading edge medicine with the most advanced equipment
and procedures available.
Plus, each patient is assessed by a team of surgeons and cardiologists to approach
to create a customized, effective treatment plan.
No other heart program in our region is as complete and as dedicated to superior