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Minimally invasive thoracic surgery to remove tumors from the thorax has always required general anesthetic and selective lung ventilation, i.e. only of the lung not being operated on by means of tracheal devices designed for the purpose. The team at MD Anderson Madrid carries out “the procedure with the patient awake, i.e. with local or partial anesthesia, normally with paravertebral or epidural anesthesia, which does not affect his/her level of consciousness, and with sedatives to relax the patient and reduce anxiety”, explains Dr. Linero, anesthetist at MD Anderson Madrid.

With the use of videothoracoscopy with the patient awake, MD Anderson Madrid endorses their commitment to innovation, making a highly advanced surgical procedure available to patients and minimizing the risks of general anesthetic, as the technique “allows segments of lung around the tumor to be removed, even in cases where entire lobes are affected, whilst the patient is awake”, stresses Dr. Moreno Balsalobre, head of the Thoracic Surgery Service and coordinator of the Videothoracoscopy and Minimally Invasive Unit at MD Anderson Madrid.

So, with just a small incision over the structures inside the chest doctors can work with different degrees of difficulty, to the point where even large lung tumors can be removed. For that reason, the technique is a great advance in the evolution towards interventions that are ever less harmful to patients”.

A technique that reduces after surgery complications for the patient

A surgical procedure using videothoracoscopy with the patient awake provides numerous benefits for patient operated on. By not using general anesthetic, post surgery nausea and vomiting, allergic reactions to drugs used and lesions caused by intubation are reduced.

“Furthermore, the technique cuts the number of days a patient needs to be hospitalized, as there are fewer after surgery complications like infection or heart arrhythmia. There is also less post surgery pain, so the need for strong painkillers is reduced and, esthetically, there are no large scars”, concludes Dr. Moreno Balsalobre.