Cardiothoracic Services (Heart and Lung)

Robotic Assisted Thoracic Surgery

Mr Dharmendra Agrawal, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon, Tel: 0191 24 48458

The Newcastle Hospitals is one of only a small number of specialist centres in the UK with the expertise to offer robotic assisted thoracic surgery using the latest robotic and laparoscopic technology available today.


Pioneering advanced minimally invasive surgery

The UK’s first robotic assisted lung resection (a surgical procedure in which a section of, or the whole lung is removed) was performed at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital in 2013.

Since this time, five specially trained thoracic surgeons supported by an experienced multi disciplinary team, are able to offer a range of robotic assisted procedures, to treat many diseases and conditions affecting the lungs.

This pioneering, minimally invasive surgery requires three to four small incisions (about 5-8mm) and the use of narrow instruments to carry out the procedure inside the thoracic cavity (chest area).

Special instruments are used in this technique to mimic the human wrists, hands and finger movements allowing a much superior range of motion during the surgery.

The high-resolution, magnified, three-dimensional (3D) view of the area being operated on offers greater surgical precision compared to standard minimally invasive procedures.

We also use a specialist procedure, known as a VATS (video-assisted thoracic surgery) lobectomy, which is much less invasive than traditional surgery, halves the amount of time patients have to spend in hospital and dramatically reduces pain and discomfort experienced during recovery, enabling patients to get back to their normal lives much more quickly.

On occasion some patients have experienced post operative pain and loss of nerve sensation (neuropraxia) with this procedure. Our team in Newcastle pioneered a method to access the chest cavity below the breast bone called a sub xiphoid incision which is painless and prevents neuropraxia.

Our ambition is to give all of our patients the best care and treatment available

We are committed to further developing the use of robotic surgery in Newcastle, in order to improve the quality of care for our patients.

We are continuously developing new techniques to ensure increasingly minimal damage to healthy tissue.

Benefits of robotic assisted thoracic surgery

The benefits of robotic surgery include:

  • Smaller scars: Only 3-4 small incisions are used during robotic-assisted surgery. Each incision measures about 5-8mm, resulting in less scarring and a faster recovery time from surgery.
  • Less blood loss: robotic-assisted surgery is more precise resulting in less blood loss.
  • Less pain after the operation: The robotic arm minimises pressure on sensitive nerves and tissues during the operation, which greatly reduces the pain experienced after surgery.
  • Shorter hospital stay: most patients go home two nights after robotic-assisted surgery.
  • Quicker full recover: recovery time averages two weeks with fewer complications.
  • More accurate prognosis and diagnosis: A more thorough dissection of lymph nodes and a precise assessment of lymph node involvement can be made. This information is critical to getting an accurate prognosis and guiding treatment decisions.

Committed to providing the highest quality care

We are committed to further developing the use of robotic surgery in order to improve the quality of care for our patients:

Currently we are offering the following robotic minimally invasive surgeries.

  • Robotic assisted lobectomy (removal of the lobe of lung)    
  • Robotic assisted segmentectomy (removal of the segment of lung)
  • Robotic assisted thymectomy (removal of the thymus gland)

We have dedicated and trained robotic thoracic surgery team aiming for innovation, excellence and quality care for our patients.

Patient testimonials

"I am amazed that I have come so far in such a short space of time, all thanks to the wonderful staff ..."

"My experience was good beyond all expectations..."

Find out what some of our patients say about their experience of the robotic assisted thoracic surgery at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital

Contact us

If you would like any further information on any aspect of our thoracic robotic surgical programme please contact:

Mr Dharmendra Agrawal, Consultant Thoracic Surgeon, Tel: 0191 24 48458

Consultant thoracic surgeons: Mr S Barnard, Mr R Slight and Mr V Pagliarulo

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