Dr. Shamsuddin Khwaja offers a less invasive surgical approach called a video-assisted lobectomy as treatment of early-stage lung cancer. This video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) technique reduces a patient’s hospital stay and the patient experiences a more rapid recovery with less pain after surgery as compared with the traditional thoracotomy approach.
Video-assisted lobectomy is less invasive than traditional thoracotomy. During VATS lobectomy, three 1-inch incisions and one 3- to 4-inch incision are made in the chest to provide access to the chest cavity without spreading of the ribs.
During a VATS lobectomy, a thorascope (small video camera) and surgical instruments are inserted into the incisions. The thoracic surgeon is guided by the images of the operative area transmitted from the thorascope. The images are projected onto a computer monitor that is positioned next to the patient.
The tumor or affected tissue are removed from the lung through the small incisions. If an early-stage cancer tumor is being removed, the lymph nodes (small, bean-shaped structures) in the mid-chest area may also be removed or biopsied to ensure that the cancer has not spread.
Before completing the VATS procedure, the surgeon will check that there are no areas of bleeding, rinse out the chest cavity and close the small incisions. One or two drains remain in place after the surgery to remove excess fluid and air from around the lung. The drains are removed at a later time during the patient’s recovery.
© Copyright 2007 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.