From Jacobeaus to the Da Vinci: Thoracoscopic Applications of the Robot

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With the increasing recognition of the benefits of minimally invasive surgery, surgical technology has evolved significantly since Jacobeaus' first attempt at thoracoscopy 100 years ago. Currently, video-assisted thoracic surgery occupies a significant role in the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant diseases of the chest. However, the clinical application of video-assisted thoracic surgery is limited by the technical shortcomings of the approach. Although the da Vinci system (Intuitive Surgical) is not the first robotic surgical system, it has been the most successful and widely applicable. After early applications in general and urologic surgery, the da Vinci robot extended its arms into the field of thoracic surgery, broadening the applicability of minimally invasive thoracic surgery. We review the available literature on robot-assisted thoracic surgery in attempt to better define the current role of the robot in pulmonary, mediastinal, and esophageal surgeries.

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