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Robotics changing how lung surgery is performed

Robotic lung surgery is quicker and much easier to do. (WSYX/WTTE)

Robotic surgery is pretty common for cancers like prostate cancer.

But now it's offering groundbreaking results for lung cancer patients, like Susan Frecker.

Frecker worked 47 years as a nurse when suddenly she was the patient.

"It was an accidental discovery from my family physician," she said. "I went for a test for something else and lo and behold they found cancer."

Treating lung cancer involves major surgery.

But now there's a new state-of-the-art way of doing it- with robotics.

"Typically this was done by going in between the ribs, spreading the ribs, often times cutting or breaking one of the ribs in order to remove the lung and its associated tumor," said

Doctor Vincent Daniel is the Medical Director of Thoracic Oncology at OhioHealth.

He's one of the only surgeons in central Ohio who routinely performs this type of surgery.

"Now with the robotic technology, we are able to go in between the rib spaces with very small instruments," said Daniel.

"Many of which measure less than 1 inch in size, and actually remove the entire lung cancer as well as the associated surrounding lung and lymph nodes using this technique."

He says there are also fewer complications.

Frecker says robotic surgery was offered to her right off the bat.

"Much better way to go. Quicker, painless-no. Not painless. Less pain. So much easier to do it that way. I was out of surgery on Tuesday evening and at home on Friday morning," she said.

And she says she only needed over the counter pain medication.

"It doesn't take away from the fact that it is a major operation and it still hurts as you would expect any operation to," said Dr. Daniel.

"But when you see them two weeks later at follow up and really how much of their life they been able to recover and are really assuming in terms of their activity, return to work, things like that. They're very grateful and very happy with what this new technology really has provided them."

Susan is a few months out from surgery.

How does she feel today?

"Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. Have no problems whatsoever. A quick recovery. I'm doing and feeling everything. Feeling fine."

And ready to embrace those retirement years.

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