Thoracic surgery, also known as chest surgery, is a surgery performed on the chest organs, including the heart, lungs, esophagus, and trachea. Some of the conditions treated through thoracic surgery include esophageal cancer, lung cancer, hiatal hernia, emphysema, coronary artery disease, and heart failure. Thoracic surgery can be performed either through open surgery or minimally invasive methods. Minimally invasive thoracic surgery is a method of performing surgery in the chest through small incisions, without making large cuts or incisions in the body, using a thoracoscope.
- Minimally invasive thoracic surgery is usually performed with the patient under general anesthesia.
- Your surgeon will make 3 to 5 small keyhole incisions on the chest (thorax).
- A thoracoscope - a thin, flexible tube with a light and a small video camera (connected to a television monitor) attached at the end - is introduced into the thorax through one of the keyhole incisions which lets the surgeon see the entire chest cavity.
- A harmless carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the thorax through the thoracoscope to expand the thoracic cavity for better visualization of the internal structures and to make more space for the surgeon to work.
- Small specialized instruments are introduced through the other incisions.
- The high-intensity camera attached with the thoracoscope provides an enlarged image of the organs of the thoracic cavity on a television monitor.
- Your surgeon then repairs chest organs affected with cancers and other diseases accordingly with the help of specialized instruments.
- After the repair is complete, the scope and other instruments are removed and the gas released.
- The tiny incisions are closed with stitches and a sterile dressing is applied.
- The benefits of minimally invasive thoracic surgery include small surgical cuts, minimal pain, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, reduced scarring, minimal risk of infection, minimal blood loss, minimal damage to surrounding tissues, and you will probably be able to get back to most of your normal activities in a couple of weeks’ time.
- Ask your doctor to know more about minimally invasive thoracic surgery.