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St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital Performs Brazos Valley’s First Robotic Thoracic Surgery

Bryan, TX, October 16, 2023 – St. Joseph Health Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Rodrigo Campana, MD, performed the Brazos Valley’s first robotic thoracic surgery using the da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot on October 11, 2023, at St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan, TX. Thoracic surgeries are those performed on the organs of the chest such as the heart and lungs, but also extend to the esophagus (tube between mouth and stomach), trachea (airway) and chest wall (rib cage and breastbone).1 Surgeries in this area are notoriously difficult as they have historically been maximally invasive, are in close proximity to vulnerable structures, and the organs in the area are challenging to access. 

The da Vinci Xi Surgical Robot allows surgeons to access difficult to reach areas through small incisions. While the surgeon operates the robot from a console, the robotic arms allow for a greater range of motion and dexterity than a human hand. Surgeries performed in this capacity are much less invasive than traditional surgery and are linked to less pain, quicker recovery and significantly less time in the hospital. 

The surgery performed on October 11 removed a mass located under the breastbone and overlying the patient’s heart. Prior to this technology, a sternotomy, where the chest wall is opened up, would be performed to access the area. In this case, the surgeon used the robot’s arms to go in between individual ribs to remove the mass.

“Utilizing our da Vinci Surgical Robots to bring this advanced, minimally invasive technique to the Brazos Valley was very important to me,” says Dr. Campana, who joined St. Joseph Health Medical Group’s Cardiovascular Surgery Associates in September. “Patients now don’t have to leave our community to have access to this much more convenient option for thoracic surgeries. We are able to treat patients as if they are in a large medical center, locally.”

"I am so excited to welcome Dr. Campana to our organization and to support him in this new robotic thoracic surgery program," said Kim Shaw, St. Joseph Health Market President and CEO. "This is a program that our community needs and will greatly benefit from, and I am so proud that St. Joseph Health was the first to bring this incredible service to the Brazos Valley."

The da Vinci Surgical Robot can be used for a vast array of thoracic procedures. In addition to cardiovascular surgeries, the robot is often used in surgeries on the lungs and diaphragm.

About St. Joseph Health: St. Joseph Health is part of CommonSpirit Health, the largest Catholic health system and the second-largest nonprofit hospital chain in the United States. Since 1936, St. Joseph Health has been the Brazos Valley’s leader in providing high-quality, patient-centered health care. Our expansive network encompasses five hospitals, including St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan, College Station Hospital, Madison Hospital, Grimes Hospital, Burleson Hospital and multiple clinics. 


Mayo Clinic, Thoracic Surgery,

Regional Hospital is the highest-level trauma center in the Brazos Valley, ready to provide the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art trauma services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. St. Joseph Health was the region’s first air medical service and the first to be accredited as a Chest Pain Center and Primary Stroke Center. St. Joseph Health is an academic and clinical partner of Texas A&M Health Science Center. St. Joseph Health and the Texas A&M Health Network employ over 100 primary care physicians, specialists and advanced practice clinicians in this partnership. To learn more, visit 

[For more information, please contact Tracy Bates, Communications Manager, at 713-962-9347 or [email protected].] 

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