Strength in Numbers: Thoracic Robotic Surgery

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March 27, 2017

North Memorial offers a full range of thoracic surgical treatment for diseases of the lung, esophagus, pleural space and chest wall.

Our multidisciplinary Thoracic Surgery and Lung Cancer Program increased its heart and lung procedures by 40 percent in 2016. Behind this sophisticated surgical technology is a medical team whose expertise is responsible for creating new expectations and pathways for patients requiring thoracic surgery. The result is faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, less pain, reduced scarring and minimal blood loss for most patients.

Improved Safety, Decreased Length of Stay

The multidisciplinary approach in treating lung cancer and other diseases of the chest cavity directly correlates with patient safety.  Hospital readmissions in 2016 dropped to zero. Providers’ technical ability achieved new heights, with extensive lysis of adhesions and improved dissection to access more nodules. This resulted in no open chest wall incisions for wedge excision or lung biopsies. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) stays for robotic wedge/biopsy patients have been eliminated, and robotic lobectomy cases are going directly to inpatient care units. In addition, overall LOS in cases completed with robotics technology only was 3.32 days.

Future Vision

Dr. Solfelt leads the program, and sees further reductions in operating room procedure time and expanded opportunities to use robotic surgeries. He also hopes to grow patient care through the pulmonary nodule program and integration with a screening program in radiology.

For more information on North Memorial’s Thoracic Surgery and Lung Cancer Program, contact: Dr Mark Solfelt at or call 763-581-5375.