Treatment: Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
Patients with clinical stage I or II lung cancer who are medically fit are recommend to be treated by a board certified thoracic
surgeon with expertise in lung cancer. A minimally invasive approach to surgery, such as video-assisted thoracic surgery, is preferred over open surgery.
The minimally invasive alternative to open chest surgery greatly reduces patient’s pain, recovery time and risk for infection,
because the ribs do not have to be separated, the incisions are smaller and there is less blood loss. Minimally invasive surgery also results in fewer complications.
General thoracic surgeons (GTS) are typically best skilled at VATS and complex sleeve procedure as well as lymph node removal, which is important to survival.
VATS can be undertaken in patients with centrally located tumors without extended invasion of the large pulmonary vessels, chest wall, and pericardium. During this minimally invasive approach, the physician makes tiny incisions in the patient’s chest and inserts a thorascope (a fiber-optic camera) as well as surgical instruments. He/she then uses the images from the computer monitor as a guide during surgery. The surgeon has no need to stress or cut ribs, because all movements are performed at the tip of the instrument, at the point of contact with the cancerous tissue. It may be possible to perform any of the resections (wedge, lobectomy, pneumonectomy) described below.
If you have cancer, the type of resection will be based on the tumor location, size, and type, as well as your overall health and lung function prior to diagnosis. The type of lung resection used will depend on the location and size of your tumor, and also the ability of your remaining lung tissue to compensate for your breathing after surgery.