PURPOSE: Recently introduced robotic surgical systems were developed to overcome the limitations of conventional minimally invasive surgery. We analyzed the impact of the da Vinci™ surgical robot on general (non-cardiac) thoracic oncologic surgery, especially for pulmonary lobectomy in NSCLC patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was performed by accessing the MEDLINE database for entries on robotic surgery for thoracic cancer.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: The da Vinci™ robotic system is currently the only commercially available robotic surgical system. There is no role for the robot in pulmonary metastasectomy. Several retrospective analyses and case series prove safety and feasibility of robotic-assisted lobectomy for early-stage NSCLC. Strictly spoken, however, this is a hybrid procedure of robotic and conventional thoracoscopic surgical techniques. For no oncologic long-term follow-up data are available by now, an oncologic valuation of the robotic approach is not appropriate yet.