Tampa General Hospital Physicians First in Hillsborough County to Perform Same-day Procedure to Diagnose and Treat Lung Cancer

Home Tampa General Hospital Physicians First in Hillsborough County to Perform Same-day Procedure to Diagnose and Treat Lung Cancer
Written by Doug Hampton

Two different robotic devices are used to first identify, then remove tumors from the lungs of early-stage cancer patients while the patient is under anesthesia.

TAMPA, Fla., June 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — For the first time in Hillsborough County, Tampa General Hospital (TGH) physicians diagnosed and removed a cancerous tumor from a patient’s lung during a single surgery, saving critical time between procedures that might otherwise be weeks apart.

Using two highly precise surgical robots, a doctor first used one robot to identify and diagnose the cancerous tumor. Another doctor then used the second robot to remove the tumor, all in the same day while the patient remained in the surgical suite.

“The robot provides superior navigation, stability, accuracy and precision,” said Dr. Alberto Goizueta, medical director of Interventional Pulmonology at Tampa General and assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. Goizueta performed the first part of the procedure – a bronchoscopy and biopsy. “The earlier we diagnose, the better the prognosis for the patient. The longer it takes to obtain a diagnosis and undergo surgery, the chances are higher that the cancer will spread, which then may result in a very different outcome for the patient,” Goizueta said. 

Patients start the same-day process by receiving a low-dose CT exam of the lung prior to the day of their procedure. If a tumor is detected, then a robotic-assisted bronchoscopy platform called the Ion endoluminal system is used for a minimally invasive biopsy of the lung. A bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows doctors to see the lungs and air passages.

Doctors use the robot to navigate through the airway to the location of the tumor to perform a biopsy of the tumor to confirm the presence of cancer and then place fluorescent dye to mark the position of the tumor.

“This robotic system gives us 3-dimensional, 360-degree access to everything inside the lungs,” Goizueta said. “I think it will change the way we do diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. And because it’s minimally invasive, the patient’s recovery time is minimal.”

Once the cancer is identified, a cardiothoracic surgeon uses a second robotic platform, the da Vinci Surgical System, to remove the tumor. As both procedures are minimally invasive, the patient experiences minimal blood loss and a faster recovery. Dr. Jonathan Daniel, a board-certified thoracic surgeon at Tampa General and the TGH Lung Cancer Center, performed the tumor removal during the hybrid procedure.

“Conducting the diagnostic procedure with a same-day surgery for lung cancer is a game-changer and a huge win for patients. Some patients may not even require any follow-up treatment. For them, it’s a single event, with same-day diagnosis and treatment,” Daniel said. “The patient doesn’t have to return to the hospital for another operation or an additional round of anesthesia.” For a patient needing further treatment, the goal of performing both procedures together is to stop the cancer from progressing to more advanced stages.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women. The American Cancer Society’s estimate for lung cancer in the U.S. for 2023 stands at about 238,340 new cases, Daniel said. “This will result in better outcomes and gives patients an improved chance at life.”

The Ion bronchoscopy platform consists of a catheter, vision probe, biopsy needle and computer console. It collects tissue samples for biopsies, even when the nodules or lesions are small and in hard-to-reach areas of the peripheral lung − where more than 70% of tumors reside.  The ultra-thin, maneuverable catheter allows doctors to reach these lesions in all upper, middle and lower lobes of the lung, and with the precision and stability needed for accurate biopsies.

The FDA-approved system is made by Intuitive Surgical, a California-based technology company specializing in minimally invasive care and robotic-assisted surgery platforms. Intuitive also is the maker of the da Vinci Surgical System, a 3D vision tool that replicates what a human arm can do, and is used for the minimally invasive removal of lung cancer.

“Doing both procedures together in one day expands a world of opportunity for the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer,” said Dr. K. Eric Sommers, a cardiothoracic surgeon and medical director of the TGH Center for Lung Cancer at the TGH Cancer Institute. “A patient with early-stage cancers can now be diagnosed and treated in one procedure, with the goal of achieving a cure.”

“This is yet another example of Tampa General being at the forefront of cutting-edge medical technology and innovation,” Sommers said. “These are the kind of tools you find in the world’s best academic health systems, and we’re excited to be offering this treatment to people whose lives may depend on it.”

A part of the TGH Cancer Institute, Tampa General’s Lung Cancer Center is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of pulmonologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists and other specialists who take a collaborative approach to developing individualized treatment plans.

“By potentially curing the patient in a same-day surgery, this new approach is representative of our focus on innovation, technology and unique management of complex cancers,” said Dr. Eduardo M. Sotomayor, director of the TGH Cancer Institute. “Additionally, it shows the type of multidisciplinary teamwork we strive for when caring for each cancer patient.”

Tampa General has earned a “high performing” designation for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report for 2022-23, meaning that the academic health system is ranked among the top 10% of hospitals and is also ranked as “high performing” for lung cancer surgery.

For more information on the TGH Lung Cancer Center, visit https://www.tgh.org/institutes-and-services/cancer-institute/lung-cancer-center-of-excellence.


Tampa General Hospital, a 1,040-bed, not-for-profit, academic health system,, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Hospitals, and is tied as the third highest-ranked hospital in Florida, with seven specialties ranking among the best programs in the United States. Tampa General Hospital has been designated as a model of excellence by the 2022 Fortune/Merative 100 Top Hospitals list. The academic health system’s commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious Forbes magazine rankings – first nationally in the 2022 America’s Best Employers for Women and sixth out of 100 Florida companies in the 2022 America’s Best Employers by State. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal year 2021, provided a net community benefit worth more than $224.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education, and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With six medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, and its 32-bed Neuroscience, Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of FloridaIt also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health, and 21 TGH Imaging powered by Tower outpatient radiology centers throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. Tampa Bay area residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics. To see a medical care professional live anytime, anywhere on a smartphone, tablet or computer, visit Virtual Health | Tampa General Hospital (tgh.org).  As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that provides real-time situational awareness to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost. For more information, go to www.tgh.org.

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SOURCE Tampa General Hospital

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