Commentary by Prof. Olaf Mercier, M.D., Ph.D., Thoracic Surgeon, Marie Lannelongue Hospital, France
Minimally invasive surgery has shown its value in lung resection surgery by reducing the impact of the surgical procedure and accelerating recovery after the operation. These techniques did not allow for lung transplantation, which is a more risky procedure because the connections are made directly to the heart and main respiratory tract. . This is not the first time that a robot has been used for transplantation (it has already been used in the United States at Cedar Sinai Hospital), but the Spanish team from Val d’Hebron (Barcelona) has developed a new technique that is interesting. Thanks to surgical robotics, which allows the same gestures as a human hand using mini-invasive instruments, complex technical gestures with sutures inside the body through mini-incisions were made. These first experiments show that the technique seems feasible. It is now necessary to demonstrate that it has the same safety as the standard procedure, the same effectiveness and finally that it allows a better recovery as in pulmonary resection surgery. For the case of pulmonary hypertension, it will be necessary to adapt the technique and innovate, as the temporary placement of a machine is necessary to help the heart withstand the lung transplant. Count on the Marie Lannelongue Hospital! We are on the way!