Learn More About Robotic Thoracic Surgery Offered at UC Davis

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The section of General Thoracic Surgery at UC Davis is offering Robotic Thoracic Surgery to further enhance our top regional minimally invasive thoracic surgery program. 

Robotic surgery

What is robotic surgery?

Robotic surgery is performed in much the same way that minimally invasive thoracic surgery (VATS) is performed.  It involves the use of small incisions, a video camera and a surgical robot.  The surgical robot is under the control of your surgeon at all times.  One of the many advantages of the surgical robot is the ability to have wristed articulation inside the chest, almost like having a surgeon’s hand inside your chest (without having a large incision).  The robot also provides exceptional optics, surgeon control of all instruments and is ideal for visualization in tight spaces like the middle of the chest.1  Additionally, robotic lung resection is associated with a shorter need for narcotic pain medication after surgery and an earlier return to usual activities when it is compared to traditional VATS lung resections.2  When compared to VATS, robotic surgery has been found to have similar complication and death rates, as well as similar long-term survival for cancer patients undergoing cancer resections.3

Robotic Surgery

For what surgeries is the robot being used?

We are currently using the surgical robot for:

  • Mediastinal tumors (tumor in the middle

    of the chest)
  • Lung biopsy
  • Lung lobectomy (removal of parts of the lung)
  • Removal of masses from the chest
  • Procedures of the diaphragm
The UC Davis Robotic Thoracic Surgery Program offers unprecedented new value and quality to our patients UC Davis Robotic Thoracic Surgery Team:

Dr. Elizabeth A. David

Dr. David Tom Cooke

Robin Kelly, PA-C


  1. Cerfolio EJ, Bryan AS, Minnich DJ.  Operative techniques in robotic thoracic surgery for inferior or posterior mediastinal pathology.  . J Thor and CV Surgery 2012; 143 (5) 1138-43.
  2. Louie BE, FarivarAS, Aye RW et al. Early Experience with Robotic Lung Resection Results in Similar Operative Outcomes and Morbiditiy When Compared with Matched Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery Cases.  Ann Thor Surg 2012 May Vol 93 (5) 1598-1605.
  3. Park BJ, Melfi F, Mussi A et al. Robotic lobectomy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): Long-term oncologic results. J Thor and CV Surgery 2012; 143 (2) 383-9.

David Tom Cooke, MD, FCCP, FACS
Blog Info
A blog provided by the UC Davis Department of Thoracic Surgery that allows patients, physicians, and anyone else who is interested or curious to learn about the important and not so publicized disease processes that affect thousands of individuals each day, such as Lung Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Emphysema/COPD and Hyperhidrosis.
Author Bio
Dr. David Tom Cooke is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. He is the Section Head of General Thoracic Surgery, and the Associate Program Director of the UC Davis Cardiothoracic Surgery Residencies. He completed his cardiothoracic surgery training at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, general surgery residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, and medical school at Harvard.

Dr. Cooke specializes in non-cardiac general thoracic surgery, thoracic oncology, and surgical treatment of malignant and benign esophageal disease, and minimally invasive thoracic surgery, including VATS pulmonary resection. Dr. Cooke's research interests involve clinical studies including oncologic trials, surgical outcomes/health services research, translational research, surgical education and medical social media. He currently serves on the governing board of directors of the American Lung Association of California, and the Medial Advisory Committee of the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation. He is the co-founder of #lcsm, the bi-monthly lung cancer social media Twitter chat.
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