Humanitas is the host for the international workshop associated with Robotic surgery. The event is organized by Dr. Marco Alloisio, Head of Thoracic Surgery, as well as Dr. Guilia Veronesi, Head of Robotic Surgery, and it will be attended by some of the most well known surgeons from around the world. Prof. Marco Montorsi, Rector of Humanitas University, will also take part in the workshop and speak about the challenges of robotic launches in the academic world. Among the most prestigious guests attending the event will be Roberto Cingolani, Scientific Director of the ITT (Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa), who will present the most interesting technological innovations in the sector, including a tool for automated treatment of laryngeal lesions and a robot that allows a surgical approach to the human body through the blood vessels.



Why is Robotic Surgery seen as a state-of-art in Italy?

“Italy has historically been at the forefront of the use of robotic surgery”, comments Dr. Alloisio. “We live in a time of technological advancement that moves forward in the frontiers of surgery. The robot does not replace the surgeon, but it does however, help  improve the quality of life for the patient. Robotics play an increasingly important role and will continue to become more widespread, in terms of operations, thanks to tele-surgery.” However, there is still much to be researched in regards to the application of robotics in the field of thoracic surgical oncology. In this field, Dr. Alloisio explains “”pulmonary lobectomy is among the most delicate operations performed. There are few centers that use robotics on a routine basis and between among them is Humanitas.”

During the workshop, robotic surgery will be met head on with videothoracoscopy or a manual on minimally invasive approach, the precursor of robotics.

Other departments, such as urology and gynecology will also be discussed with possible integration of 3D CT and surgery, ie computer-mediated surgery guided by three-dimensional imaging. The specialists who deal with robotic surgery will discuss their data and information to better target clinical trials. In-depth opportunities will be discussed, in terms of cooperation, encouraging new ideas and defined standards of training for the surgeons of tomorrow.



What are the advantages of robotic surgery?

“There are many advantages to robotic surgery in comparison to videothoracoscopy, which is a minimally invasive approach to robotics – explains Dr. Veronesi – above all, greater ergonomics, precision of movements and optimization of vision, which is three-dimensional and immersion. There is still strong data on the benefits for patients in terms of postoperative course and complications compared to manual videothoracoscopy.”

The workshop is just an occasion that will lay the foundation of a prospective study in  position to validate this technique in comparison with videothoracoscopy. Compared to open surgery, the advantage of robotics is the ability to replicate the same phases of traditional surgery but with reduced trauma for patients, thus improving their quality of life. Another advantage to minimally invasive robotic surgery in comparison with videothoracoscopy is a more effective way in arriving at the exact location and removing mediastinal lymph nodes. In fact, videothoracoscopy is mainly designated for the removal of cancers at an early stage, whereas robotic surgery could be used for tumors in a more advanced stage, so that more patients can benefit from a non-traumatic treatment.

In one of the four sessions in which the workshop will be divided, a proposal on a study coordinated by Humanitas will be presented. It is a work in progress to validate the role of robotic surgery for the treatment of tumors in a more advanced stage.

Robotic surgery: comparing experiences

An obstacle standing in the way of the spread of robotic surgery is the cost of equipment and instruments used. The workshop will also discuss this aspect by comparing the  Italian experience with that of the European and the United States. A goal for the future is to provide more evidence on the sustainability of robotics and the benefits that may justify its additional costs, but also costs to develop robotic devices accessible to all. Prof. Robert Cerfolio, a world-renowned expert in thoracic robotic surgery, will bring his American experience to this area, illustrating the challenges ahead for the Americans, where robotics is spreading at a more rapid pace.

This workshop will also be a starting point to bring together a wide range of surgeons from around the world: “We want to start a collaboration – adds Dr. Veronesi – through a network of specialists who deal with robotic surgery for the purpose of  sharing data on patients and all the necessary information relating to clinical studies. We think of this workshop as a structure where we can work together and encourage new ideas but also set the standards for the training of surgeons of tomorrow. ”