About Dr. Fontaine

Dr. Jacques Fontaine

Dr. Fontaine is considered a leader in robotic (DaVinci) surgery and serves as the Program Director for the Robotic Surgery Fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. He was rated the top thoracic disease doctor in the Tampa Bay Area in 2021, 2019 and 2018 by Tampa Magazine.

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Robotic surgery uses dynamic robotic instruments to improve surgical outcomes for patients. The da Vinci surgical system used at Moffitt Cancer Center offers multiple benefits to patients, including a shorter hospital stay, quicker recovery and lower risk of complications.

What Is Robotic-Assisted Surgery?

Robotic-assisted surgery uses robotic systems to perform a variety of surgical procedures. It is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open surgery, which usually requires a large incision. Doctors can complete robotic surgery through a few small incisions, ultimately reducing trauma to the body.

Before the operation, you will be given general anesthesia to put you to sleep and keep you free of pain throughout the procedure. Next, the surgeon will make a few small incisions that allow the camera and robotic instruments to access your body. The surgeon will then insert a robotic arm fitted with a 3D camera that projects a magnified, high-definition view of the operating area directly to a screen.

The surgeon will sit at a computer console near the operating table. The console contains hand and foot controls that allow the surgeon to manipulate the robotic arms and the attached tools during the procedure. These controls allow for extremely precise movements and effectively eliminate any tremor in the surgeon’s hands. Another doctor will remain by your side to adjust the tools as necessary.

Next, the surgeon inserts the instruments needed to handle, cut and stitch tissues and other structures throughout the procedure. Once the operation is complete, doctors will remove the tools and close the incisions with stitches.

Learn More About What to Expect Before, During and After Robotic Surgery

Da Vinci Surgical System

At Moffitt Cancer Center, the Tampa-based surgeons are trained on the da Vinci surgical system, which allows for unparalleled precision and accuracy.

The da Vinci system uses tiny instruments that move like a human hand but with greater range of motion and precision. It also features a camera that produces 3D high-definition views of the surgical area.

These innovative technologies allow surgeons to operate using small incisions and more precise movement, which reduces impact on the body and improves recovery time.

Get in touch with Dr. Fontaine to learn more about lung cancer surgery and treatment.

Benefits of Robotic-Assisted Surgery

Robotic-assisted surgery offers several benefits to patients, including shorter hospital stays, speedier recovery and fewer complications.

Shorter Hospital Stay

The length of your hospital stay will vary depending on the procedure, but robotic surgery patients are typically released much sooner than those treated with open surgery. Most patients undergoing robotic lung surgery average only three days in the hospital. This makes it easier for patients from Hillsborough County and nearby cities, such as Sarasota, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, to travel to Tampa for treatment.

Faster Recovery

Because surgical cuts made with robotic surgery are smaller than with traditional techniques, most patients have less pain and recover sooner. A high protein diet, daily walks and exercise and a positive attitude certainly make the recovery faster. You should be up and walking around as soon as the morning after your operation.

Reduced Blood Loss

The combination of a magnified 3D view and precision instruments allows robot-assisted surgeons to perform much more delicate and accurate surgery on tissues and organs, minimizing blood loss during the procedure. The need for blood transfusions is lower following certain robotic procedures, which makes it easier for patients to return home faster.

Lower Risk of Complications

Serious complications such as pneumonia, infections and death may occur after any surgery, but are less frequent after robotic surgery because of smaller incisions, reduced blood loss and more delicate surgical techniques. A lower risk of complications can help patients feel more comfortable and secure in their treatment decisions. It also makes it easier to travel to and from Tampa for surgery.

Postoperative Quality of Life Improves

Because Moffitt’s robotic procedures often lead to less postoperative pain, smaller incisions and shorter hospital stays, many patients report a better quality of life throughout recovery. With traditional surgical methods, recovery can be more challenging because of complications and blood loss. Robotic surgery overcomes this recovery obstacle and improves patient health and happiness.

“The goal of surgery is to get the entire cancer out and to do it safely. For this reason, it is important to note that not every patient is a candidate for robotic surgery.”

Robotic Surgery at Moffitt Cancer Center

Patients at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, can seek the expertise of Dr. Jacques Fontaine, one of the few thoracic surgeons in the nation who specialize in robot-assisted lung and esophageal cancer surgery.

His experience performing robotic surgeries on a regular basis has led to numerous patients traveling to the Tampa Bay area. Moffitt Institute for Robotic Cancer Surgery regularly serves patients from Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Vero Beach and Miami due to being one of a select few multispecialty robotic programs in the U.S. and the largest in the Southeast.

Fontaine and the team at Moffitt have emerged as national leaders in robotic and minimally invasive techniques, performing more yearly esophageal and lung cancer surgeries than any other center in the United States.

Robotic Surgery Fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt is an attractive destination for surgeons around the world seeking educational experience in robotic surgery. Fontaine is the program director for Moffitt’s 12-month Robotic Surgery Fellowship in Tampa, Florida. Led by Fontaine and Dr. Eric Toloza, this fellowship offers recently graduated thoracic surgeons an exceptional opportunity for additional in-depth training in robotic surgery.

Robotic-Assisted Procedures at Moffitt

The Tampa-based surgeons provide robot-assisted surgical options for many types of cancers, including:

For more information about Moffitt, Tampa or this fellowship, contact Dr. Fontaine.

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Location & Hours of Operation

Moffit Cancer Center

12902 Magnolia Drive | Tampa, FL 33612


Mon-Fri 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center
U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals - 2014-2015
National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center
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