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Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Centennial Medical Center Performs First Robot-Assisted Thoracic Oncology Surgery in Nashville

TriStar Centennial May 18, 2011

Centennial Medical Center thoracic oncologist Mathew Ninan, M.D., performed Nashville's first robot-assisted thoracic oncology surgery at The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Centennial Medical Center last week – expanding surgical cancer treatment options for Tennesseans with lung and esophageal cancer.

Centennial Medical Center is currently the only hospital in the Nashville area that offers this type of procedure for thoracic oncology. This advanced robot-assisted approach to cancer treatment results in a much less-invasive procedure than traditional surgical methods, allowing patients to avoid scars, the loss of large amounts of tissue, and reduce recovery time.

“By utilizing the robot, we are able to take video-assisted surgery, which has been the widely accepted form of lung cancer treatment, to the next level and even further expand our candidate pool for surgical treatment of lung and the removal of thoracic tumors,” said Mathew Ninan, M.D., “This minimally invasive procedure provides a higher rate of accuracy in tumor removal, and avoids large incisions and rib removal, greatly diminishing the patient's pain after surgery.”

Dr. Ninan has over 10 years of experience in both academic and semi-academic settings in Tennessee in the multidisciplinary management of lung and esophageal cancer. He has served as the local principal investigator for three international trials in thoracic oncology and consults for improved accrual and surgical participation in clinical trials nationally. Dr. Ninan was most recently the Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. His clinical focus is on the use of robotic technology in thoracic surgery.

The first da Vinci SI robot-assisted thoracic procedure performed at Centennial Medical Center was a lobectomy, which is also called a lung resection. The procedure consists of removing tumors in one of the lobes of the lungs. Nearly 70 percent of patients suffering from early stage lung cancer are candidates for robot-assisted surgery, which often results in improved lung function and lower recurrence rates.

The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center was named in 1991 after Sarah Cannon, creator of the beloved Minnie Pearl, who experienced a personal bout with cancer. The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center at Centennial is part of The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center Network—a group of eight affiliated medical facilities in Tennessee and southern Kentucky that are accredited by The Cancer Commission of the American College of Surgeons with commendations for excellent cancer care. With hundreds of cancer experts and researchers, The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center Network has grown to become the largest community-based, privately-funded diagnostic and treatment center in the country. Through its investment in advanced technologies and the latest treatment modalities, more patients are benefiting from life-saving cancer diagnosis, treatment and access to clinical trials close to where they live and work. For more information about The Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, call TriStar MedLine at (615) 342-1919 or (800) 242-5662 or visit

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