In March of this year doctors discovered a growth on Mickey Kirksey's kidney.
In May, surgeons removed the growth which turned out to be cancerous.
But that wasn't the end of his nightmare.
Kirksey's surgeons found the cancer had spread to one of his lungs and he needed more surgery to remove it.
Kirksey told Newschannel 7, "the word thoracotomy is a scary word. When you look up thoracotomy you see the scars, the incisions and you see the procedures."
What he saw made a difficult situation even more stressful.
Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Greg England says "traditional lung surgery patients are in ICU for a day or two, in the hospital a week or ten days, full recovery is a month or two."
Then Kirksey's surgeon suggested a machine that's used quite often in other surgeries but was only recently approved by the FDA for lung surgery. The Da Vinci.
Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Reed Finney says "with robotic surgery the ICU is typically a day, the hospital three or four days and recovery's much quicker... a few weeks."
Dr. Finney describes is as "a series of robotic arms. the surgeon is still the surgeon - the robot is an extension of the operator."
The traditional and robotic surgeries are essentially the same.
Dr. England says "the real difference is traditionally we do lung surgery with a fairly large incision directly viewing into the chest. but with the Da Vinci we have a camera that's inserted into the chest."
The vision is incredible. It's a three dimensional camera so it's actually like your head is sitting inside the chest."
Kirksey was in the hospital for one day and back to work within two weeks.
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