Lung conditions affect many Long Islanders so it is vital they have a hospital that is equipped with the latest technology, and the expertise to treat them successfully.
NYU Winthrop Hospital recently welcomed Laurence N. Spier, MD, chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, to its multidisciplinary cardiothoracic surgical team. Dr. Spier is renowned for his skill in performing a wide range of procedures related to the chest including those aimed at eradicating lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. Dr. Spier utilizes the state-of-the-art da Vinci® surgical system to combat these statistics, increasing cancer survivor rates at the 4-year mark by 15 percent.
“Robotic surgery allows for a minimally invasive platform, utilizing small incisions yet allowing for meticulous precision to the operation. This precision cannot be duplicated with any other approach available,” explains Dr. Spier, “The result is faster recovery, less scarring, and better outcomes for patients.”
When performing robotic lung surgery, Dr. Spier uses a console that provides him with a three-dimensional, high-definition view of the inside of the chest cavity, and lungs. This visualization is magnified 10 times, offering a superior view of the surgical field, and enabling him to direct the robotic arms with extreme accuracy to perform surgery. Dr. Spier compares this increased view to seeing all of the state names at the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a five-dollar bill.
“In the United States, only about 20 to 30 percent of lobectomies are performed with a minimally invasive platform. Here at NYU Winthrop, almost 100 percent of the procedures are minimally invasive,” adds Dr. Spier. “This cuts a patient’s hospital stay to less than half of what is customary with other platforms, just two to three days, and in most instances there are no physical restrictions upon discharge.”
Dr. Spier is currently one of a few thoracic surgeons in the United States who has performed more than 1,000 robotic thoracic procedures. “Due to our growing success and leadership in the field of robotic surgery, we are experiencing a tremendous surge in patients from all over the country traveling to NYU Winthrop to be treated for a range of thoracic conditions,” says Dr. Spier.
NYU Winthrop Hospital is currently the only robotics epicenter on Long Island, a distinction awarded by Intuitive® for nationally recognized surgeon training in the field of robotics. Physicians from across the United States visit NYU Winthrop to observe and learn from Dr. Spier, and watch the thoracic team perform robotic surgery.
Other thoracic procedures performed at NYU Winthrop include lung volume reduction surgery, used to improve breathing for patients with severe emphysema. In this complex process, non-functioning areas of the lung are removed, and the lung is reshaped into a smaller organ with a more functional diaphragm. Additional procedures available from the thoracic surgery team include:
- colon resection
- gastric bypass surgery
- general abdominal surgery
- gynecologic oncology surgery
- sacrocolpopexy for pelvic organ prolapse
Looking ahead, says Dr. Spier, “The future of robotics lies in software advancements such as imagery guided by artificial intelligence. I expect shortly that with the help of artificial intelligence, we won’t just see inside the chest cavity, we’ll be able to see directly into the lung itself. That will allow for easier resection of tumors and masses, and thus cause even less damage to surrounding tissue.”