Ensuring fellows and surgeons can train with the most experienced robotic surgeons on the newest, most up-to-date equipment ultimately means better outcomes for more patients. In addition to an unparalleled collection of technology, Cedars-Sinai is home to one of the leading thoracic robotic surgeons in the U.S. Harmik J. Soukiasian, MD, vice chair of Surgery,
Ensuring fellows and surgeons can train with the most experienced robotic surgeons on the newest, most up-to-date equipment ultimately means better outcomes for more patients. In addition to an unparalleled collection of technology, Cedars-Sinai is home to one of the leading thoracic robotic surgeons in the U.S.
Harmik J. Soukiasian, MD, vice chair of Surgery, Clinical Outreach, has been a driving force in bringing the robotics program to fruition at Cedars-Sinai. As a member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS) robotics scholarship committee, Soukiasian is committed to equipping the next generation of surgeons with the tools they need to meaningfully move the field of thoracic surgery—and robotics—forward. He regularly organizes and leads lung surgery symposiums and other workshops to connect trainees with the best and brightest minds in thoracic surgery.
“We have a passion and strong drive for advancing robotic surgery on a national and international level. Our high surgical volume, academic incorporation of robotics, publications and teaching set Cedars-Sinai apart from other institutions,” says Soukiasian, who is also director of the Division of Thoracic Surgery and the Tawil Family Chair in Thoracic Surgery.
Soukiasian treats lung and esophageal cancer as well as benign esophageal disease, such as hiatal hernias, all via robotics. Being one of the highest volume robotic thoracic surgeons in the country, he is an ideal mentor to host case observerships. Physicians wanting to learn or hone their robotics skills fly to Los Angeles from around the country to observe Soukiasian perform advanced robotic procedures, such as robotic lobectomies, segmentectomies, totally robotic esophagectomies and other robotic procedures.
“This is possible because we have a high volume of robotics procedures, with unfettered access to the robot. We are able to run dedicated thoracic robotic operating rooms five days, two of which have two robotic operating rooms running concurrently, for a total of seven operating rooms a week of robotic surgery. It is quite extraordinary,” says Soukiasian.
Cedars-Sinai is committed to staying at the forefront of robotic technology and has recently unveiled an innovative, robotic-assisted endoluminal platform for navigational bronchoscopy and minimally invasive peripheral lung biopsy. Imai spearheads this effort and is passionate about continuing to build on the excellence of the surgical education program at Cedars-Sinai. So passionate, in fact, that she is currently pursuing a master’s in education in addition to her clinical and academic roles at Cedars-Sinai.
Cedars-Sinai already leads the country in procedures performed on the new platform and is the first and only program in the country with two of these systems. As such, the division intends to begin case observerships on the new robotic-assisted endoluminal platform with Imai leading this part of the training course.