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Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth Offers Robotic Assisted Thoracic Surgery


Patients Experience Numerous Benefits

Gwinnett Medical Center–Duluth (GMC–Duluth) is expanding its use of the da Vinci® Surgical System to include thoracic surgery. Based on a highly sophisticated platform, the system provides the unique combination of a surgeon’s knowledge and skill with the superior dexterity and precision of a robot to improve patient experience.

According to the American Cancer Society, the estimated number of new cases for those in Georgia diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer is 6,280. At both GMC hospitals, 155 new cases in 2010 calendar year were recorded.

“These numbers demonstrate a critical need for robotic-assisted thoracic surgery, which furthers our commitment to the health of Gwinnett and North Fulton communities,” said Lea Bay, president of GMC-Duluth. “Through physician education and institutional investments, such as this, GMC can greatly impact a patient’s medical treatment options.”

Thoracic and general surgeon Robert Fritz, M.D., who is certified by the American Board of Surgery, is now performing robotic-assisted thoracic surgeries at GMC–Duluth.

“These procedures have provided positive results,” he said, “generally with earlier patient mobility, faster patient discharge and easier recuperation after discharge.”

When performing lobectomy procedures or similar surgeries, larger incisions were once required, yielding larger scarring and longer recovery times, plus an increased complication rate. Based on this minimally invasive, robotic approach, lobectomy procedures only require small incisions. Additional advantages of robotic surgery include less bleeding and less risk for infection, reduced discomfort and remarkably quicker recovery. System mechanics include 3D visualization, high-definition cameras, 10x magnified images and four robotic arms.

“I saw the incorporation of the robotic surgical system as an opportunity to enhance the patient experience by providing even further precision surgically, and easier recovery, even compared with a minimally invasive or VATS approach (video-assisted thoracic surgery) which I have used for 20 years,” said Dr. Fritz. “In general, the robotic approach provides a distinct advantage especially in the more complex surgeries that we see here at GMC–Duluth.”

GMC–Duluth surgeons also use the da Vinci® robot for prostatectomies (prostate removal) and gynecologic procedures such as hysterectomies and myomectomies (fibroid tumor removal).

About Gwinnett Medical Center
Gwinnett Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth that provide award-winning healthcare services. GMC’s 4,200 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, follow us at, or