Surgical services to get back to the life you love

Thoracic/Pulmonary Surgery

Certain lung procedures – including lobectomy and lung cancer treatment – traditionally performed using open techniques can now be performed using the da Vinci® surgical system. 


Lobectomy is a type of lung cancer surgery where one lobe of the lung is removed. It’s also performed for other conditions like severe COPD, tuberculosis or trauma that interfere with the major blood vessels near the lungs. The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two lobes. 

Robotic-assisted lobectomies are performed using the da Vinci Xi surgical system. The minimally invasive surgery uses very small incisions (about the size of a dime) to remove the diseased part of the lung. The surgeon sits at a sophisticated electronic console and views the procedure through a special 3D video image. Instead of performing the procedure manually, the surgeon controls the da Vinci robotic arms with instruments attached. 

The approach to lobectomy suggested by your surgeon is determined by the size of the tumor, its location and stage, and a person’s overall lung function and health status. Surgeons at CHI Memorial also offer VATS – video assisted minimally invasive surgery – for lobectomy and other thoracic conditions.

In the past, fear of lung cancer surgery was sometimes greater than the fear of cancer itself. Minimally invasive techniques, specialized scopes and robotic surgery using the daVinci robotic surgical  system are innovative tools surgeons use to minimize pain and maximize effectiveness. These advances are offer surgeons new ways to protect patients and their immune systems while finding the most effective way for the cancer to be treated.

Patients who undergo robotic-assisted surgical procedures typically experience less pain, shorter hospital stays, less reliance on opioid medication, fewer complications, less blood loss, minimal scarring, and quicker return to normal activities. 

Learn more about da Vinci thoracic surgery.

Lung Biopsies 

CHI Memorial has invested in life-changing technology – the Ion by Intuitive endoluminal system, a minimally invasive robotic assisted bronchoscopy procedure designed to address a challenging aspect of lung biopsy. The system represents an advancement in procedures that enable physicians to reach nodules far into the peripheral lung and provide them unprecedented stability and precision needed for biopsy.

The Ion features an ultra-thin, maneuverable catheter that allows navigation far into the peripheral lung where it has been traditionally difficult to obtain a biopsy from the center of the lesion. Ion’s robotic platform is always stable, and there’s total control of catheter placement. This offers a level of precision previously unavailable – and it leads to better diagnostic information used to effectively treat lung cancer. Essentially, every lung nodule is now within reach.

During bronchoscopy with Ion, the interventional pulmonologist uses the controller to navigate to the target along a planned path. The catheter can articulate 180 degrees in any direction to pass through small, difficult-to-navigate airways and around tight bends to reach all 18 segments of the lung. Ion’s peripheral vision probe provides direct vision during navigation. Once the pulmonary nodule is reached, the catheter locks in place. A flexible biopsy needle passes through the catheter, even when positioned in tight airways. After advancing around tight-radius bends of the catheter, the needle deploys into the target location on a straight path.

Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths. However, when diagnosed at the earliest stage, known as stage IA-1, the average 5-year survival rate is 92%. Early-stage diagnosis can be difficult, but the Ion endoluminal system may help obtain tissue samples that facilitate a diagnosis. It can also help avoid the need for subsequent biopsies by obtaining viable tissue samples during the initial procedure.