New Thoracic Procedures

Robotic-assisted surgery

Da Vinci robot wristed instruments

As new techniques are developed for thoracic surgeries using the da Vinci robot, Alexander Pak, MD, with Mid America Heart & Lung Surgeons, embraces the technology. Dr. Pak was introduced to the da Vinci robotic surgery technology several years ago and is encouraged to see the rapid growth of techniques that allow for more robot-assisted thoracic procedures. “It’s exciting to see how far we can go with it,” he says. “There are an increasing number of applications, and the hospital has been very supportive.”


“The benefit to the surgeon, and ultimately the patient, is the incredible visualization that the technology provides,” Dr. Pak says. “Robotic-assisted surgery offers 3D high definition imagery versus only 2D with conventional thoracoscopic equipment. The capabilities of the instruments allow for wristed movements – this gives the surgeon a working advantage in small spaces.”


Applications for da Vinci robot-assisted procedures have become popular in urology and gynecology but now techniques have been developed for thoracic procedures.

Robotic-assisted lobectomy

Minimally invasive ports vs. traditional incision

Dr. Pak currently uses robotic-assisted surgery for mediastinal tumors – particularly thymectomy for myasthenia gravis. It allows him to do a complete operation while avoiding a full sternotomy or thoracotomy. Additionally, he is exploring techniques for lung cancer resections, the majority of which he currently performs through a thoracoscopic, minimally invasive approach.



“I've had very good success with minimally invasive procedures,” Dr. Pak says. Robot-assisted surgery does require additional training for the surgery team and there are added costs, but Dr. Pak says they work hard to balance that against additional patient safety, faster recovery and the ability for the surgeon to perform a more precise operation. Dr. Pak performs his robotic-assisted surgeries at North Kansas City Hospital.

Alexander Pak, MD

Alexander Pak, MDDr. Pak received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. He completed his general surgery residency and a cardiothoracic fellowship at State University of New York at Buffalo. He is board certified in thoracic surgery and general surgery. He has a special interest in minimally invasive thoracic surgery and complex cardiac surgery including heart valve repair and transplantation.

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