Robotic-Assisted Thoracic Surgery
Now Performed in CVOR


The da Vinci Xi robot utilized by McLeod Thoracic Surgeon Dr. Wayne Holley has been relocated to the McLeod Cardiovascular OR in the McLeod Tower. This move enhances the patient experience by placing the patients in the unit dedicated to the care of cardiothoracic surgery.

Dr. Holley performed his first case, a robotic-assisted lobectomy for lung cancer, in the CVOR the week of February 8.

Robotic-assisted surgery, a form of minimally-invasive surgery, allows the surgeon to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than traditional techniques offer.

During a robotic-assisted surgery, the surgeon operates through a few small incisions, controlling the robot’s every move while seated at a console in the operating room. The surgeon’s hand, wrist and finger movements guide the robot manipulating the surgical instruments inside the patient. In essence, the robot becomes an extension of the surgeon’s hands. The surgeon views the surgical site through a high-definition 3-D camera. This magnified imagery provides enhanced visibility and improved precision for exact treatment and greater dexterity for the surgeon.

Thoracic robotic-assisted surgery also allows the surgeon to reach the lungs without spreading the ribs. “This form of surgery offers better visualization and more precision with smaller incisions,” explained Dr. Holley. “Twenty-plus years ago, I performed this very same operation through large incisions in the chest and the side of the patient.”

Minimally invasive thoracic surgery produces better outcomes, much less pain, better staging of lung cancer, fewer post-operative complications and a two-day hospitalization as opposed to eight to ten days, according to Dr. Holley.

“In industry, that means the patient returns to work within two to four weeks instead of 12 weeks which benefits both the patient and the employer,” he said.

Dr. Holley brought his expertise in robotic thoracic surgery to McLeod Regional Medical Center in December 2017. He operates with a designated team of OR staff specially trained to work with this surgical specialty. This robotic team consists of Physician Assistant Juleidy Turnipseed, nurse anesthetists, OR nurses and surgical technologists.

All McLeod surgeons who offer robotic-assisted surgery as an option for their patients undergo additional specialized training. These surgeons perform robotic-assisted procedures in general surgery, thoracic surgery, gynecology and urology at McLeod Regional Medical Center and McLeod Health Seacoast.