Franca Melfi, an Italian surgeon, is the first to treat lung cancer with robotic thoracic surgery

Sep 20, 2022 858

The first person in the world to treat lung cancer with robotic thoracic surgery is Italian. She is Franca Melfi, who heads the Center for Robotic Surgery at Aoup in Pisa. Franca Melfi was born in 1959 in Cosenza, Calabria: from a young age she wanted to become a doctor, but her mother opposed it, convinced it was an unattainable dream. But the young aspiring doctor does not give up.

With her father's complicity, she moved to Pisa where she studied medicine, eventually specializing in thoracic surgery. In the 1990s, she began working in robotic surgery at Pisa Hospital. At this time almost no one in Europe thinks it makes sense to invest in this field. But she goes her own way: in 2001 she becomes the first person in the world to take advantage of robotic surgery to treat a lung tumor.

For this remarkable innovation she receives numerous international awards. At this point she becomes a European-level mentor for thoracic robotic surgery. Over the years he is responsible for opening 22 thoracic lung surgery centers in Europe. He then works hard to expand the use of robots to other areas and succeeds. In 2012, she created Europe's largest robotic surgery center in a public facility in Pisa, with the goal of training the surgeons of the future. Today Franca Melfi is considered one of the pioneers of robotic thoracic surgery.

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