Surgeons at Huntsman Cancer Institute perform 3000th robotic surgery

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Huntsman Cancer Institute crosses a major milestone, performing its 3000th robotic surgery.

It’s the only hospital, offering chest operations, using this technology in Utah and the entire Mountain West region. The minimally-invasive surgery is helpful for doctors to reach tough to get to spots in the body.

Susan Otaguro, 68, from West Valley City, went in for kidney stones. Doctors later found out she had a cancerous tumor on her thymus deep in her chest.

“It was a bit of a shock. You don’t expect something like this,” said Otaguro. 

She’s one of 3,000 patients at Huntsman Cancer Institute who underwent robotic surgery using cutting edge technology.

Dr. John Stringham, a thoracic surgeon at Huntsman, performed Otaguro’s operation.

He used this machine called the Intuitive da Vinci. He made four tiny incisions, carefully going under the chest bone and removing Otaguro’s tumor. 

“It’s really computer-assisted surgery. So a surgeon is in control at all times but it gives us better vision, it gives us better dexterity. We do much finer detail work in the body without big incisions,” said Dr. Stringham. 

Her other option would have been a large incision down her chest and breaking her breastbone.
Doctors say minimally-invasive surgery, especially in the chest, gives patients a better survival rate.

“We know patients who have minimally invasive surgery, are able to get back to work, function better and get back to activities such as skiing, whatever it might be,” said Dr. Stringham. 

“I feel great, I started playing pickle ball. I knew we were here in Utah for a reason and it looks like this was the reason to come to a hospital like this,” said Otaguro. 
 
Dr. Stringham sees using this procedure much more in the future. The technology reduces complications and pain when it comes to removing tumors in the lung, esophagus, and chest.

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