When Is Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery Useful?

Minimally invasive surgery is becoming increasingly popular as more and more practitioners specialize in this domain. Yet, this procedure is not only a new and fascinating field of study. This surgery's main purpose is to offer patients a safer and faster alternative to open chest surgery. It is called minimally invasive because the impact of this procedure is significantly lower than in conventional surgery due to the fact that several small incisions are made instead of the traditional large cut.

The incisions that sometimes measure as little as several millimeters allow doctors to introduce an endoscope inside the patient's body. This thin tube that has a camera attached to its end will help doctors see where the affected tissue is located and repair or remove it using different types of medical equipment.

What Are the Benefits?

Minimally invasive thoracic surgery brings undeniable benefits to patients who qualify for this type of procedure. The intervention is less risky and the recovery is significantly faster. Because this surgery is done through small incisions, patients can heal rapidly, face lower complications risks, and spend less time and money in the hospital.

After the surgery, the pain is also less severe, sometimes insignificant, and therefore, it doesn't require a complicated or prolonged post-operative treatment.

With the aid of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) and robotics, minimally invasive procedures are less compromising from an anatomic point of view which eases any further interventions patients may require in the future.

Moreover, minimally invasive procedures can easily be converted into open surgery if the doctor finds this solution more appropriate during the operation.

Can Lung Cancer Be Treated with Minimally Invasive Surgery?

The answer is yes, minimally invasive surgery is nowadays used to treat cancer. In fact, this type of surgery is expected to become a preferred option for eligible patients.

This type of intervention allows doctors to remove tumors and nodules easier. Some of the interventions that can be tackled through minimally invasive surgery are lobectomy, segmental or wedge resection. The first implies the removal of the affected lung lobe, while the letter is used for removing the tumors and the adjacent tissue.

Minimally invasive surgery offers the chance to avoid traditional lung lobectomy. What are the advantages? Patients recover faster and the pain they endure after the procedure is significantly reduced. Unlike lobectomy, this innovative technique doesn't affect the ribs and the nerves, nor does it pose the same post-operative risks. This is all due to the fact that minimally invasive surgery doesn't imply the spreading of the ribs. This procedure also avoids any ribs or sternum cutting and it minimizes blood loss. With traditional open surgery, patients face discomfort and, in many cases, permanent pain after the intervention. Furthermore, the chance of suffering from subsequent complications like atelectasis, pulmonary embolism, respiratory failure, or pneumonia are pretty high in open chest procedures. On the other hand, minimally invasive surgery eliminates these potential consequences.

Minimally invasive surgery also provides new opportunities for patients who don't qualify for open chest surgery such as those who suffer from impaired lung function.

If you suffer from any condition that might be treated with minimally invasive surgery, don't hesitate to opt for this procedure. Talk to your doctor and ask for any additional information that might help you understand better the impact and the benefits of these interventions.