Fort’s Allison is the primary Scottish lung most cancers affected person to bear groundbreaking robotic surgical procedure


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Fort William lung cancer patient Allison Kane benefited from a minimally invasive surgical technique that allowed her to recover faster and get home earlier in a landmark medical first for Scotland.

Surgeons at the NHS Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank have continued to provide urgent heart, lung and cancer treatments throughout the coronavirus pandemic and have now used a Da Vinci surgical robot to perform complex pod lobectomies in patients with lung cancer.

The procedure, also known as a sheath lobectomy, involves removing part of the surrounding lungs and lymph glands.

Part of a blood vessel or airway with the tumor growing in it is also removed and the remaining ends reconnected. This allows the tumor near the center to be removed without removing the entire lung.

Allison Kane, who recently underwent groundbreaking surgery. Photo: Iain Ferguson,
NO F07 Allison Kane 01

Pulmonary surgeon Rocco Bilancia told the Lochaber Times, “Traditionally, an operation like this would require a large incision, but with the DaVinci robot we can perform this procedure with a high-precision keyhole surgery that involves making very small incisions on the body .

‘This type of surgery, which has only been attempted a few times in the UK, is extremely safe and patients benefit tremendously from this type of procedure as they experience far less pain, less risk of complications and faster recovery time after surgery means conventional surgery. ‘

Pulmonary surgeon Rocco Bilancia performed Allison’s operation.
NO F07 pulmonary surgeon Mr. Rocco Bilancia 01

Patients who need chemotherapy after surgery may be able to start their therapy earlier and, thanks to this surgical innovation, have improved tolerance to the treatment.

Allison was the first patient in Scotland to benefit from this new technique. After diagnosing a benign tumor, Allison had the Golden Jubilee clinical team perform the robotic lobectomy.

Allison is amazed at the lack of pain she experienced after her surgery and believes her recovery time was faster than after a traditional invasive procedure.

Allison, 55, who works as an account manager at Care Lochaber, had the surgery in late October and told the Lochaber Times, “I was fortunate to have the robotic surgery as I believe I have recovered much better than when I did it would have done the traditional surgery where the surgeon opens the chest.

“My recovery was so good and the wounds healed so well that I was able to paint furniture again and run after my five year old grandson Oliver.

“I even managed to work a bit from home again. I’m a little tired and a little sore, but I can really feel the benefit of robotic surgery. I feel great, absolutely great. ‘

Using traditional pulmonary surgery, patients typically spend up to six days in the hospital or five days for innovative video-assisted thoracic surgery. With the help of robotics, patients can now go home after four days.

The robot inserts rods into the patient, which are operated by the surgeon sitting at the control capsule. The articulated instruments can bend and rotate better and more precisely than a human. This allows the surgeon to work with smooth, natural motion and cause less trauma during the procedure.

Surgeons have been using the DaVinci Surgical Robot to perform complex lung cancer surgeries for more than two years. So far, 300 patients have benefited from it.

Allison, who was in the community before surgery to pick up prescriptions and shop for vulnerable people when the coronavirus lockdown came in, also works 10 hours a week for Voluntary Action Lochaber.

Speaking of her tumor, she said, “It was classified as a type of lung cancer – carcinoid tumor – but it was benign. If it wasn’t caught it could have gotten nasty, said the surgeon. He managed to remove everything. I will be in touch with them every year. ‘

And she had nothing but praise for the skills of her surgeon and his medical team: “The surgeon was amazing. They showed me a video of the robot with him in a small cubicle that was separated from him the night before my surgery. Absolutely amazing that they can.

“To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve had a lung removed now. Fitness is almost back to normal and going uphill without becoming breathless. I wouldn’t be nearly as beneficial if it were open breast surgery. ‘


Pulmonary surgeon Mr. Rocco Bilancia with the surgical robot da Vinci, with which he pioneered the operation of a patient from Fort William. NO F07 Pulmonary surgeon Mr. Rocco Bilancia 02

Extra pictures:

Allison Kane, who underwent a groundbreaking operation. Photo: Iain Ferguson, NO F07 Allison Kane01

Pulmonary surgeon Rocco Bilancia performed Allison’s operation. NO F07 pulmonary surgeon Mr. Rocco Bilancia 01


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