Certain heart and lung procedures traditionally performed using open techniques can now be performed using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Minimally invasive procedures include mitral valve repair, coronary artery bypass, lobectomy, and treatment for lung cancer.

Mitral Valve Repair

When the mitral valve is damaged or diseased, it can be repaired or replaced with robotic-assisted valve surgery. Traditional, open-chest surgeries often involve creating a large incision in the sternum, opening the ribs and stopping the heart to stabilize the blood vessels. Robotic assisted procedures require very small incisions – often less than two inches. 

The surgeon controls the robotic instruments to open the thin sac around the heart (called the pericardium) and to perform the procedure. In many cases, opening the sternum and ribs is not required to perform the procedure. Benefits to robotic-assisted mitral valve surgery are a shorter hospital stay, reduced blood loss, reduced rate of heart rhythm problems and pleural effusion following surgery, and smaller incisions resulting in less scarring and quicker recovery.

Coronary Artery Bypass

Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients become diseased or damaged. Plaque first grows within the walls the arteries until the blood flow to the heart’s muscle is limited. This can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease signs and symptoms. This can be chronic, meaning the narrowing of the coronary artery happens over time. Or it can be acute, resulting from a sudden rupture of plaque and formation of a blood clot. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack.

The purpose of coronary bypass surgery is to restore blood flow to your heart. It’s done by redirecting blood flow around the blocked artery. If you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery including the da Vinci Surgical System, your surgeon operates through a few small incisions between your ribs. There’s no need to cut through breast bone or spread your ribs, and a heart lung machine (which stops your heart during surgery) isn’t needed with this minimally invasive approach.The benefits of coronary artery bypass using the daVinci Surgical System offers the potential benefits:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Small incisions, minimal scarring
  • Lower rate of major complications, blood loss and transfusions.
Learn more about da Vinci® cardiac surgery


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 interferes with the major blood vessels near the lungs. The right lung has three lobes, and the left lung has two lobes.Robotic assisted minimally invasive surgery uses very small incisions (about the size of a dime) to remove the diseased part of the lung. The primary 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 robotic arms with instruments attached. The robot doesn’t act on its own – the surgeon is in complete control.

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. Learn more about the Buz Standefer Lung Center at CHI Memorial.


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 surgery system are innovative tools surgeons use to minimize pain and maximize effectiveness. These advances are offering surgeons new ways to protect patients and their immune systems while finding the most effective way for the cancer to be attacked.

Learn more about da Vinci® thoracic surgery.