The number of robotic thoracic procedures is growing, and new robotic systems are on the way. To objectively compare outcomes, a definition of what defines a robotic thoracic operation and a nomenclature to detail the approach employed are required. The American Association of Thoracic Surgeons Guideline Committee created an expert consensus writing group to provide standards and nomenclature for robotic thoracic surgery. After conducting a PubMed search and vetting and reviewing the material, researchers reached a consensus statement. “A robotic thoracic operation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that does not spread, lift, or remove any part of the chest or abdominal wall and is characterized by: the surgeon and assistant’s vision of the operative field is solely through a monitor, and the patient’s tissue is manipulated by robotic instruments that follow a slave-like mimic of human hands or thoughts via a computerized system,” according to the proposed definition. Furthermore, a flexible nomenclature is proposed that should be relevant to present and future robotic systems and includes information on the number of robotic arms utilized, the types of ports and incisions created, insufflation, and the operation is done.

The writing committee of the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons suggests a definition and terminology for robotic thoracic surgery. Definitions are required to ensure that future research compares data and outcomes appropriately, and nomenclatures allow surgeons and scientists from many countries and cultures to communicate in the same language.