Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery
Traditionally, thoracic surgeons make a large chest incision and spread or cut the ribs to access the thoracic cavity in order to perform surgery. Newer less invasive surgical techniques are now available and may be an option depending on your particular case.
Minimally invasive thoracic surgery or MITS can be performed using video assistance or robotic assistance:
- Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS)
Video-assisted Thoracic Surgery or VATS is a surgical technique that involves insertion of a thoracoscope, a long, thin tube with a camera attached on the end, through a small chest incision called a port. The thoracoscope allows the surgeon to visualize inside the chest cavity and to perform surgery using tiny surgical instruments inserted through one or two additional ports. For more extensive operations such as lung resection for cancer, an additional incision measuring about 6 centimeters is made for the removal of the lung tissue.
- Robotic thoracic surgery
Robotic thoracic surgery is a newer surgical approach which greatly enhances the surgeon’s visualization of the operative field, precision, and control compared to the traditional “open” surgery approach. With robotic thoracic surgery, the surgeon makes small 1 cm incisions in the same rib space to perform, for example, a lobectomy (lung lobe removal), without spreading or cutting the breastbone or ribs, thereby minimizing blood loss, pain and scarring. The surgeon controls the robot's movements from a nearby console in the operating room. The robot is equipped with high definition, 3D imaging capabilities enabling surgeons to perform thoracic surgery through tiny 1-2 cm incisions.