Spain Carries Out Lung Transplant With 4 Armed Robot

Umer Abdullah
Spanish surgeons performed the world’s first-ever robotic-assisted lung transplant using a four-armed robot called Da Vinci, promising improved patient outcomes. This innovative procedure has significant potential to revolutionize lung transplantation worldwide.
Getting the patient ready for transplant. Photo: Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz | Unsplash

In the current era of technological advancements, headlines are resounding with news of a remarkable feat achieved by a Spanish-made artificial robot that successfully performed a lung transplant surgery.

Recent reports from Spain confirm that a team of skilled surgeons was able to carry out their first-ever four-armed robotic lung transplant, a noteworthy milestone in the field of medical science.

As we all know, lung transplant surgery is a complex and highly delicate procedure, involving the cutting of a patient’s chest. Any minor oversight or carelessness can result in critical complications, or even prove fatal for the patient.

However, these proficient Spanish surgeons utilized a relatively new robotic technique that did not require cutting the patient’s bones, marking the first transplant through robotic-like arms without the need for bone incisions, as opined by medical experts.

How Did Robots Do It?

A robotic operation theater is ready before the surgery. Photo: Marcel Scholte I Unsplash

A team of medical professionals at the Vall D’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona successfully utilized a robotic system, dubbed “Da Vinci,” consisting of four arms to carry out a groundbreaking lung transplant surgery. The robotic system began by making a minor incision in the patient’s skin to remove muscle and fat, followed by the removal of the damaged lung and the insertion of a new one through the same incision below the sternum and above the diaphragm.

Traditionally, older surgical techniques require a 30-centimeter incision. While some hospitals had previously used smaller incisions for lung transplants, this marks the first instance of a procedure involving the smallest incision size down to the soft tissues.

According to Reuters, the head of the hospital’s lung transplant and thoracic surgery department, Albert Jauregui, stated that “We strongly believe this technique will help greatly to improve the patient’s quality of life, reduction in pain, and post-surgery period.” He also expressed his hope that many other hospitals and centers will adopt this technique.

In addition, Jauregui noted that the team deflated the organ in the operating theatre to allow for easier entry of the new lung through the narrow incision. “The body part has the advantage if it shows increased skin elasticity. It gives room and makes the body area opening possible without touching the ribs,” he explained.

To allow for the 3D camera and robotic arms to easily enter, the team made additional minor cuts to the rib cage side. Jauregui further stated that this same technique could be used for a transplant surgery involving two lungs with the same incision.

A Painless Operation

A doctor allocating medical tools in an operation theatre. Photo: Cottonbro Studio I Pexels

The groundbreaking robotic lung transplant surgery described above has thus far only been used to treat lung cancer, specifically in a 65-year-old patient named Xavier who suffered from severe pulmonary fibrosis.

According to Xavier himself, he experienced significant benefits from the new surgical technique, feeling no pain whatsoever upon waking from general anesthesia due to the smaller incision size used. As a result, Xavier only required paracetamol as post-surgical treatment, whereas traditional lung transplant patients typically require opioid painkillers.

Spain has long been at the forefront of organ transplantation, performing an average of 15 transplants and seven donors daily, according to the country’s health ministry.


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