Teen is one of first to undergo robotic lung cancer surgery

Family

POSTED: Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 9:00am

UPDATED: Sunday, July 15, 2012 - 9:04am

The fact that Jonathan Muniz, 16, is playing his saxophone is incredible.

Just three weeks ago, he became one of the first teens in the world to undergo robotic surgery for lung cancer.

"It was just like a 16 year old doesn't get cancer in the lung, doesn't smoke, doesn't drink," said his mother Elizabeth Muniz.

His father, Ted Muniz, was equally as worried.

"And the way they were describing the tumor itself, it was quite extensive and it was like, 'Oh my God,'" he said.

Jonathan, who acquired a rare type of lung cancer usually seen in adults, was treated at four different hospitals.

He began his journey at Broward Health Coral Springs, moved to North Broward Medical Center, was airlifted to Miami Children's Hospital and finally transferred to South Miami Hospital .

"You know, I was thinking all of the bad things that could happen and I was scared out of my mind," he said.

Surgeons at South Miami were able to remove the tumor and save most of his lung without opening his chest.

Using a robotic arm, surgeon Mark Dylewski was able cut out the cancer and reconnect the airway in a complex procedure called a sleeve resection.

"We were able to spare his lower and middle lobe and just take out the upper lobe with a portion of that main airway," said Dylewski. "This operation was basically done through three eight millimeter incisions and that has never been done anywhere in the world to my knowledge."

Johnathon Muniz came out of surgery able to breathe on his own.

"It was really hard breathing before, it was nice that I was breathing fine now," he said.

The teen's surgeon said there is less than a five percent chance of the lung cancer returning.

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