© Reuters. Medical staff from Val d’Ebron University Hospital performs an autolung-only operation using an endoscope, in Barcelona, Spain, in this photo taken April 3, 2023 and released April 17, 2023. Hospital Unive
MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish hospital has performed a lung transplant using pioneering robotic technology and a new access route that no longer requires separating the ribs and opening the chest, experts said on Monday.
Surgeons at Val d’Ebron Hospital in Barcelona used a four-armed robot called “Da” Vinci (EPA:) “to cut out a small section of the patient’s skin, fat, and muscle to remove the damaged lung and insert a new one through a 3-inch incision below the breastbone, just above the diaphragm.
They said the new procedure is less painful for the patient, as the incision closes easily, and is safer than the traditional method, which requires a 12-inch incision and a very sensitive period after surgery.
“We believe it is a technology that will improve patients’ quality of life, improve the postoperative period, and improve the pain that patients experience. It is a technology that we hope will spread to more centers over time,” said Albert Jauregui, Head of Thoracic and Lung Transplant Surgery at Val d’Ebron, to the press on Monday.
The groundbreaking procedure, which until now had only been used to treat lung cancer, was performed on Xavier, a 65-year-old man who required a lung transplant due to pulmonary fibrosis.
Xavier said he has benefited from the new technology.
“The upshot is that I can talk to you and explain my story a little bit,” he said.
Spain is the world leader in organ transplantation, with an average of 7 donors and 15 transplants per day in 2022, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Health.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, Editing by Inte Landoro and Christina Fincher, Editing in Spanish by Jose Muñoz)