Groundbreaking transplant uses robots and tiny incisions to replace lungs | tech news

The team at Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron University Hospital performs a robotic lung surgery using only endoscopy

The team from Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron University Hospital performs a robotic lung surgery using only endoscopy (Image: Reuters)

A Spanish hospital performed a lung transplant using a breakthrough technique using a robot and a new approach that no longer requires separating the ribs and opening the chest, experts said on Monday.

Surgeons at Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital used a four-armed robot called “Da Vinci” to cut a small section of the patient’s skin, fat and muscle to remove the damaged lung and replace a new one with an eight-centimetre-long one Incision introduce the lower part of the chest, just above the diaphragm.

The new procedure is less painful for the patient because the wound closes easily and is safer than the traditional method, which requires a 30-centimeter incision and a very delicate postoperative phase.

“We believe it is a technique that will improve patients’ quality of life and the postoperative period, as well as reduce pain,” said Albert Jauregui, head of the Vall d’Hebron Department of Thoracic Surgery and Lung Transplants. “We hope that this technique will eventually spread to other centers.”

The groundbreaking procedure, previously only used to treat lung cancer, was performed on Xavier, a 65-year-old man who needed a lung transplant because of pulmonary fibrosis.

Xavier said he benefited from the new technique.

Xavier, who successfully received the world's first fully robotized lung transplant

Xavier, who successfully received the world’s first fully robotic lung transplant (Picture: Getty)

“The result is that I can talk to you and share a bit of my story,” he said.

Spain is the world leader in organ transplants, with an average of seven donors and 15 transplants per day in 2022, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Health.

154 people have received organ transplants in the UK this month.

MORE: My brother and I were told our kidneys were failing — and we’d both need a transplant

MORE : Modified drone successfully delivers transplant lungs to patients

Justin Scaccy

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