DALLAS Dec. 21, 2009 When Craig Harrison found out he would be the first patient in North Texas to have robot-assisted lung-tumor surgery, an operation performed at UT Southwestern Medical Center, he wasn't nervous at all.
"I know most people would've been, but I was actually excited about it," Mr. Harrison said. "I had a rare chance to help other people."
Dr. J. Michael DiMaio, associate professor of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at UT Southwestern, performed the groundbreaking surgery using the DaVinci system, a four-armed robot controlled by the surgeon via a joystick. The DaVinci provide a wider array of surgical manipulations within a smaller incision than are available in traditional thoracic surgeries.
"A lot more procedures are now done with smaller incisions, which decreases pain and the length of hospital stays," Dr. DiMaio said. "The robot offers easier access to the lung, with more flexibility and rotation than standard tools."
Mr. Harrison's surgery revealed a benign tumor a bright point in an otherwise grueling decade for him and his family.
"I'm pretty much ready to put the 2000s behind me," he said, and for good reason. The 48-year old Arlington man lost his house in a 2000 tornado that caused widespread destruction in Tarrant County. Just four years later, he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Gastrointestinal symptoms had plagued him for years, but the diagnosis shocked him. He was only 42 at the time, and the bad news got worse. A year after his initial surgery to remove a large tumor from his colon and several feet of lower intestine, Mr. Harrison's doctors discovered that it had metastasized to his liver.
"They found a big mass on my liver, so I had radio-frequency ablation followed by radiation and systemic chemotherapy to treat that," Mr. Harrison said. "It was pretty terrible."
His wife, Kim, helped care for him at home while he recuperated from the s
|Contact: Katherine Morales|
UT Southwestern Medical Center