Robotic Mediastinal Surgery

Robotic Surgery to Biopsy and Remove Mediastinal Tumors and Cysts

The mediastinum, the area of the chest cavity between the lungs, is a complex part of the body that contains many different types of organs and tissues, and can give rise to many types of growths, both benign and malignant. The thoracic surgeons at the NYU Robotic Surgery Center are currently performing robot-assisted procedures to biopsy or surgically remove a wide range of mediastinal tumors and cysts.

Robotic Procedures for Mediastinal Tumors
Tumors that our surgeons operate on robotically to either biopsy (test for cancer) or remove include thymomas (tumors of the thymus that are usually benign)—a procedure often done to treat the related neuromuscular condition myasthenia gravis—as well as teratomas (a type of encapsulated tumor). In addition, they perform robot-assisted surgery on nerve sheath tumors such as Schwannomas and neurofibromas (about 70% of which are benign), lymphomas (malignant lymphatic system cancers that include both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s disease and are amenable to biopsy), and thyroid and parathyroid tumors, which may be benign or malignant.

Robotic Procedures for Mediastinal Cysts
Our surgeons also utilize robotic surgery to remove many types of mediastinal cysts—sacs filled with fluid or semi-solid tissue that are benign, but can sometimes cause troublesome symptoms—including cysts on the thymuspericardial cysts (a cyst on the outer covering of the heart, which causes symptoms like chest pain in about one-third of cases),bronchogenic cysts (a congenital cyst in the respiratory system that typically manifest itself in early adulthood), and esophageal duplication cysts (another form of congenital cyst that grows on the esophagus).

Advantages of Robotic Mediastinal Surgery

The mediastinum is a confined space that contains many vital structures in close proximity to each other, making it a challenge to access and visualize the mass being removed or biopsied. The da Vinci Si surgical robot’s superior, high-definition 3-D visualization, exceptional maneuverability and dexterity, and precise control make it ideally suited for operating on mediastinal masses. And since robotic mediastinal surgery is done through several small incisions between the ribs on the left or right side of the chest, it results in significantly less post-operative pain and scarring than traditional open mediastinal surgery, which requires a large incision and, in some procedures, cutting through the chest bone as well.

Robotic Mediastinal Surgery at NYU Langone

The NYU Robotic Surgery Center has a surgical robot and operating room dedicated exclusively to robot-assisted cardiothoracic procedures, and we are rapidly expanding the number and types of mediastinal operations we’re performing robotically. Our team of robotic mediastinal surgeons includes Dr. Harvey Pass, Division Chief of Thoracic Surgery at NYU Langone; Dr. Michael Zervos, one of the most experienced robotic thoracic surgeons in the New York area, who was recently named Director of Robotic Thoracic Surgery; and Dr. Costas Bizekis, a highly-skilled minimally-invasive surgeon with extensive expertise in robotic mediastinal and lung surgery as well as esophageal surgery, where he has helped pioneer robotic procedures for esophageal cancer and a number of benign esophageal conditions.

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