A dramatic advance in lung cancer treatment, video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) is a technique that involves three small incisions between the ribs. Physicians insert a laparoscope and other instruments through the incisions. While the scope magnifies and projects structures within the chest cavity onto a video monitor, surgeons complete the operation.
This minimally invasive procedure presents a sharp contrast to traditional open chest surgery, which involves a large incision, hospital stay of seven to 12 days, and months of recovery. VATS eliminates the need for large incisions, making it a kinder, gentler approach. Patients endure less trauma to the chest wall, experience far less pain, and require much less pain medication.
Explains Robert J. Korst, Director of Oncology Surgical Services and Thoracic Surgery at the Blumenthal Cancer Center: "Through the use of special instrumentation, the surgeon can explore the chest cavity and remove lung nodules using only three incisions between the ribs, rather than spreading the ribs to open the entire chest cavity with a long incision." Valley is among only a few hospitals in northern New Jersey offering VATS for lung cancer surgery.