Video-assisted surgery for lung cancer patients leads to easier, more successful treatment

A new procedure called video assistant thorascopic surgery is changing how physicians find and treat lung cancer tumors in dramatic ways, says Russell K. Hales, M.D.

Hales, who is a radiation oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, says that in the past, a type of surgery called open thoracotomy would be done, making a large incision to fully expose the chest and to help remove the tumor, leaving a large scar.

Today, video assistant thorascopic surgery or VATS offers a number of benefits, such as:

  • Smaller incisions and a shorter surgery overall;
  • Less chest wall trauma for patients;
  • Better tolerance of this surgery in elderly patients;
  • Patients are more likely to succeed in getting chemotherapy in its entirety after surgery;
  • Patients have shorter stays in the intensive care unit, and shorter overall stays in the hospital; and
  • Side effects of surgery are often reduced.

“We're now moving to new frontiers,” Hales says, noting the use of minimally invasive robotic surgery for lung cancer.  “This surgery can be done with a surgeon next to the patient.  His hands are on robotic controls, and the robot itself is doing the work, within the patient.  This allows even more precise therapy, and we're doing studies here at Hopkins to evaluate the role of robotic surgery in patients with lung cancer.”

Find out more from Dr. Hales about lung cancer, treatments for it, and innovative new research to help lung cancer patients in the free webinar, Lung Cancer: Serious Treatment for a Serious Cancer.

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