FDA warns robotic surgeries for cancer-related procedures not approved

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Photo via WINK News.

A surgery that is supposed to cut down on patient recovery time could be causing more pain in the long run. WINK News looked at why the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is warning the public about robotic surgery regarding cancer-related issues.

Lora McCann has been breast cancer free for eight years now, but her journey through surgeries, treatment and experience with various doctors is why she decided to become an advocate for other patients.

“They ask you a lot of questions, and they give you a lot of information,” McCann said. “And that’s the absolute worst time for that.”

McCann said patients can make giant mistakes by agreeing to a procedure the FDA is warning them about. The administration said the use of robotic surgery for mastectomies or other cancer-related surgeries is not approved.

“My other concern is anything that’s not approved, insurance companies tend to say, ‘No, we’re not going to pay,’” McCann said. “This is expensive technology. You’re probably looking at tens of thousands of dollars of bills.”

Even though these robotic arms can make smaller incisions, MacCann said the procedure is not worth the risk.

“The FDA goes through testing on these things to make sure that the patient stays protected,” McCann said.

And McCann said patients should protect themselves by asking doctors about risks, benefits and how many times they have performed the procedure before agreeing to one.

WINK News contacted Lee Memorial Hospital and Naples Community Hospital for comment about the federal government warning and how that might impact patients and procedures, but neither hospital replied in time for air or publication.

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