Robotic lobectomies: when and why?
During the last decade, an abundance of papers has supported minimally invasive pulmonary resections (MIPR) vs. traditional open approach. Both video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic thoracic surgery have shown better perioperative outcomes and equivalent oncologic results compared with thoracotomy, confirming the effectiveness of the MIPR. Despite the profound changes and improvements that have taken place throughout the years and the increasing use of robotic system worldwide, the controversy about the application of robotic surgery for lung resections is still open. Some authors wonder about the advantages of using a more expensive and more complex platform for thoracic surgery instead of the more established VATS technique. Robotic thoracic surgery represents, although the cumulative experience worldwide is still limited and evolving, a significant evolution over VATS, nonetheless several authors criticize the longer operative time and the high costs of robotic procedures. The aim of this paper is to answer two relevant questions: why and when the application of robotic technology in thoracic surgery is appropriate?