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Chianti Moore – da Vinci Thoracic Surgery for Lung Tumors Success Story

Chianti Moore learned firsthand how the da Vinci® robot is now a great defense against lung tumors

Chianti MooreFrom the spring 2012 edition of Shine magazine

For Chianti Moore, a car accident last June turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The collision triggered a series of events that would ultimately reveal a life-threatening medical condition.

"After my accident, I began to cough," Moore says. "I thought I had allergies at first, but after a week, my cough progressed to wheezing, and I just could not stop." And the hottest summer Texas had seen since the 1980s only made things worse.

"The hotter it got, the worse the cough got," Moore says. "I could not get through a conversation without having to stop and cough. I have a 15-year-old son who's very active in sports, and this cough took so much out of me that it was hard to get around to all of his games."

Taking down a tumor

While physicians originally suspected pneumonia might be the cause of Moore's cough, R. Bruce Gammon, MD, an independently practicing pulmonologist on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson Medical Center, took a look at her lungs with a procedure called a bronchoscopy. The test revealed a large mass in her lungs, a carcinoid tumor so large that it obstructed her airway. Fearing the worst – cancer – Moore's first thoughts went to her son.

"I'm a mother, and I'm fairly young," she says. "I thought 'What am I going to do now?'"

While the tumor turned out to be benign, it still had to come out immediately to restore proper breathing.

Thomas Hoang, MD, an independently practicing thoracic surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Richardson, walked over within five minutes of the diagnosis to discuss treatment options. Dr. Hoang recommended using the da Vinci® Surgical System to remove the tumor. With its robotic technology, da Vinci makes surgery much easier on patients.

"When Dr. Hoang said 'robot,' I thought, 'How is a robot going to help with surgery?'" Moore says. "But after he explained in further detail about the benefits of less scarring, less invasiveness, and a faster recovery, I knew this was the right option for me."

Traditionally, similar conditions have required a procedure called thoracotomy, which involves a long incision and breaking open the rib cage to access the lung.

"Because da Vinci allows the surgeon to perform the surgery through a few tiny incisions, spreading a patient's ribs to access the lung is avoided," Dr. Hoang says. "The procedure is minimally invasive and precise, which reduces bleeding, infection, and injury to the ribs."

Coming out a winner

Instead of having the long, painful recovery often associated with thoracotomy, Moore went home five days after surgery, felt normal again not long thereafter, and has minimal scarring.

The physicians explained that the tumor was most likely already formed in her lung before the accident happened but that the impact could have triggered the cough. For that reason, Moore believes the car accident was actually a blessing and is grateful for the medical staff at Methodist Richardson.