Advancing futuristic technology in oncology surgery today

Nimble robotic digits smaller than a finger that can excise cancerous tissue from the throat without cracking the patient’s jaw. Patient-physician conversations via an iPad that can eliminate costly travel expenses when a patient lives hundreds of miles away. Wearable medical devices that can measure a patient’s activities, providing the physician with valuable data on the patient’s recovery. Sounds futuristic, but such technology is being used and studied today at MD Anderson through a program called MINTOS — Minimally Invasive New Technology in Oncologic Surgery. The program, now in its 10th year, is helping our surgeons discover new, innovative ways to treat cancer with less invasive procedures, providing better quality of life and successful outcomes for our patients. Influencing the future of robotics in oncology surgery While MINTOS involves much more than robotic surgery, the daVinci robots used at MD Anderson are usually the first things that come to mind. Equipped with miniature surgical tools and 3-D cameras with magnification of the operative view, the four robots allow our skilled surgeons to operate with extreme precision through tiny incisions. For our patients, robotic surgery means shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery times and better cosmetic outcomes. Our surgeons have performed more than 7,000 robotic surgeries over the last 10 years. And we rank second in efficiency among top cancer centers in the country, with approximately 325 cases per robot each year. “Even with the complexity of surgery required for our patients’ diagnoses, we do more cases per robot than most hospitals, and our program is still growing,” says George Chang, M.D., director of clinical operations for MINTOS. Surena Matin, M.D.,...