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GMC-Duluth now offers robotic thoracic surgeries

DULUTH -- Gwinnett Medical Center's Duluth campus has expanded its robotic surgery offerings to include thoracic procedures.

In the past, the hospital implemented its da Vinci surgical system primarily for prostate and gynecological surgeries, the procedures using "the unique combination of a surgeon's knowledge and skill with the superior dexterity and precision of a robot." Dr. Robert Fritz is now performing thoracic surgeries -- such as lobectomies of cancerous tumors in the lungs -- with the robot.

"I saw the incorporation of the robotic surgical system as an opportunity to enhance the patient experience by providing even further precision surgically and easier recovery," Fritz said in a news release. "In general, the robotic approach provides a distinct advantage especially in the more complex surgeries that we see here at GMC-Duluth."

The da Vinci system includes 3D visualization, high-definition cameras, 10-times magnified images and four robotic arms. Advantages, hospital officials said, include smaller incisions, less risk for infection, less discomfort and quicker recoveries.

According to the American Cancer Society, 6,280 new cases of lung and brochus cancer will be diagnosed in georgia this year. At GMC's Duluth and Lawrenceville campuses, a total of 155 new cases were recorded last year.

"These numbers demonstrated a critical need for robotic-assisted thoracic surgery," GMC-Duluth president Lea Bay said.