Cottage Robotic Surgery Center Offers Robotic Lobectomy Procedure

Barbara Ross - Cottage Center for Robotic Surgery Center PatientBarbara Ross, Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara resident Barbara Ross makes it a priority to get plenty of exercise, whether she’s at the gym on the treadmill or outdoors swimming in the pool.

During a routine check-up of her heart, Barbara received great news that she had perfect cardiac health. However, the ultrasound from that visit revealed a shocking surprise – there were tumors growing on her lung. A cat-scan and a biopsy later confirmed they were cancerous.

Barbara was referred to Dr. Peter Baay, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the Cottage Robotic Surgery Center at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

Dr. Baay explained I had two options. There was traditional surgery or I could do a less invasive option with the da Vinci surgical robot,” Barbara said. She decided on the minimally invasive approach to remove a lobe of her lung (called a lobectomy) with the tumors.

  • User interface on the back of the patient side cart
  • Nurse assisting the da Vinci Xi patient cart
  • Surgeon sitting at the da Vinci Xi surgeon console

The Cottage Robotic Surgery Center features the state-of-the-art da Vinci Xi Surgical System. Compared to traditional surgery that would require opening the chest, the minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery results in less blood loss, less pain and discomfort, and a faster recovery.

“Barbara was the first patient to have a robotic lobectomy at Cottage,” Dr. Baay said. “The da Vinci Xi has made it easier to do robotic lobectomy. Prior to using the da Vinci, cardiothoracic surgery required larger incisions, with a longer recovery period and longer stays in the hospital.”

Surgeons control every move of the da Vinci from a console. Looking into an eyepiece that provides 3-D high definition (3D-HD) vision, the surgeon moves four robotic arms holding miniature instruments that can fit through small incisions. The instruments have mechanical wrists that bend and rotate like a human wrist, but software minimizes hand tremors and disruption to surrounding tissues and organs while working in small spaces.

Barbara had her surgery in March 2018. Dr. Baay removed the top lobe of a lung using just a few small incisions, the largest one only 2 inches wide.

After one day, she was out of bed, walking the hospital’s halls and spending time outside on the terrace.

“Dr. Baay was just wonderful. He did a tremendous job and I really appreciated the attentive follow-up care,” she said.

When Barbara returned home, she had only minor discomfort and did not require any pain medication. After six months of chemotherapy, her cancer is now in remission.

“I was able to get back to my regular routine right away,” she said, which included her 90-minute workouts at the gym and swimming.

“Being able to go home so quickly was the best medicine in itself. Everyone at Cottage was so nice, and helped me with whatever I needed. They all went the extra mile.”

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Robotic Surgery Changing Patients' Experience

Cottage Robotic Surgery Center Patient - Ann

Ann never suspected cancer could happen to her. After all, she was only 58 years old and in good health. “After robotic surgery for cancer, I went home the next day with zero pain.”

Ann's Story