Latest technology in minimally invasive thoracic surgery

Ivan Chi Hin Siu, Zheng Li, Calvin S. H. Ng


From the introduction of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in the 1990s, to performing major lung resections using a uniportal VATS approach, technology has paved the way for the development of minimally invasive thoracic surgery. Natural orifice access to achieve a ‘no port’ approach, is also on the rise, with advancements in bronchoscopic techniques for diagnosis and therapy, as well as development of soft robotics to achieve desired flexibility, dexterity and stability in future platforms, which may involve in vivo deployment to bring the surgeon totally inside the body. Development of haptic feedback in robotic platforms to enhance the surgical experience is also a major goal, with vibrotactile and mechanical feedback generation, to replicate the traditional touch. In addition, the aid of technology in the form of procedural guidance mechanisms, like augmented reality, will further improve the safety and accuracy of future operations.