What Is Minimally Invasive Surgery for Lung Cancer?

If you’re diagnosed with early stages of lung cancer and are looking to receive treatments, consider minimally invasive lung surgery. 

Traditionally, surgeons make big incisions to access the chest and lungs. With the help of less invasive approaches, such as the Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery or VATS, they only need to make small incisions to view the affected area and perform procedures.

With VATS, you can expect less pain and discomfort after the lung surgery. You can recover and resume your routine activities sooner. Using the latest technology allows your doctors to carry out treatments with higher precision, safer. 

Your main surgeon controls the robotic instruments using a console and is assisted by a bedside surgeon who’s also keeping track of the video monitor. 

What You Can Expect From a Minimally-Invasive Lung Cancer Surgery

  • Your surgeon will administer general anesthesia to ensure your comfort. This will put you to sleep throughout the procedure. A breathing tube will also be used to help you breathe. 
  • Your surgeon will make small incisions on your chest, between your ribs. This is where the instruments will be inserted.
  • Once the procedure is completed, your surgeon will place a chest tube on one of the incisions to drain excess fluids coming out of the best. This will be removed before you’re discharged. 
  • The overall recovery period is usually shorter compared to getting a traditional lung surgery. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll no longer need to rest. You still have to recharge and regain energy, which can take up to three weeks.
  • Your healthcare team will provide you with post-operative care instructions. Be sure to follow them as directed to avoid issues or complications. 

Benefits of Getting Less Invasive Surgeries

Like other surgeries, there are risks involved in getting a minimally invasive lung surgery. This includes infection and air leakage. Using robotic instruments can also extend the operation period, which means you’ll be put under anesthesia for a longer period. 

If necessary, your surgeon may shift to a more invasive technique to complete the procedure. 

On the upside, there are also several benefits to using this approach. 

  • You get to reduce your hospital stay and consequently, your hospital bills too.
  • There may be fewer complications.
  • Since incisions are smaller, the scars are smaller too. There is less blood loss as well.
  • Downtime is also shorter. 

Note, however, that every patient case is unique. The results of your surgery may be different from other patients. Several factors can affect the outcome, such as your health condition and the type and severity of lung cancer.

Who are Qualified to Use this Approach

Your surgeon needs to evaluate your condition first to see if minimally invasive lung surgery is right for you. Serious cases may require traditional techniques. Either way, you and your surgeon will look into possible options together and see which type will be most beneficial for you. 

Be sure to always get a second opinion, especially if you somehow don’t feel comfortable with the first team you’ve seen. It’s crucial to work with healthcare professionals that you trust and are experienced in treating your condition.

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