House Calls

WIN 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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h o u s e c a l l s { winter 2018 } 37 Another new discipline of rapid change and huge advancement is thoracic robotic surgery (learn more below). And what's next on the horizon? "We hope to grow our program to possibly start doing more robotic upper gastrointestinal work," says Dr. Blessing. USING—OR NOT USING IT—WISELY The benefits of the technology are many, but there are also cases in which robotic isn't the way to go. "We want to be a center that does smart robotic surgery—you don't want to over-utilize the robot just because you have it," says Dr. Blessing. If a surgery is too complicated, if there's too much inflammation, or if more tactile feedback is needed, he says it's better to back away from robotics and use a hands-on approach instead. "It's crucial to use the tool only when it benefits the patient," says Dr. Blessing. "To do the surgery safely is the most important thing of all." In 2014, Roper St. Francis began offering low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung scans as a lung cancer screening for patients with a history of smoking. And today, robotic thoracic surgery is the go-to option for treating lung cancers. We sat down with Roper St. Francis affiliated thoracic surgeon Dr. Curtis Quinn to learn how these two groundbreaking technologies are benefitting locals with lung cancer. HC: Are lung cancer screenings on the rise? CQ: Roper St. Francis jumped on this very early and has been doubling the number of lung screens performed every year. We are now finding one lung cancer per every 58 screens. What really makes a difference is that statistics show that, on average, 85 percent of the time lung cancers are discovered at an advanced stage three or four, which is very difficult to cure. However, in 2017, we'd found 10 lung cancers by August and nine of them were very early stage. So we're actually turning the statistics around and identifying cases of cancer we can really cure. HC: How often and why are you using robotic thoracic surgery as treatment? CQ: Roughly 60 to 70 percent of the lung cancer resections—or removal of the lung cancer—are being done robotically at Roper St. Francis. Most lung cancers occur in longtime smokers who may also have a condition like emphysema or heart disease and may not be able to tolerate a big open surgery that results in pain or discomfort. With minimally invasive robotic surgery, we can remove the cancer with very small incisions, leading to less pain, less bleeding, and a faster recovery. I recently performed a full lung cancer resection on a man who came back to see me 18 days after the surgery, and that morning he had played 18 holes of golf. It means so much to someone's recovery when they're able to continue living life as usual afterward. HC: What do you like about using the robotic technology? CQ: The robot basically reproduces every move of your hand in a miniaturized form and is combined with a stereo-optic camera system that gives you depth perception. This combination has greatly improved our ability to safely remove lung cancers with extreme precision. Not everyone is a candidate for robotic lung surgery, but being less stressful than the old fashioned open technique we are able to now remove cancers from many more patients with poor lung function from smoking. Dr. Curtis Quinn TURNING LUNG CANCER STATS AROUND AN INSIDE LOOK: During a robotic procedure, the surgeon guides the robot's wristed "hands," which hold the surgical tools. DID YOU KNOW? Roper Hospital is the only facility in the Lowcountry to offer robotic lung cancer surgery.

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