Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery takes advantage of advances in computer imaging and robotics to provide effective surgical cancer treatment with a much smaller impact on the patient. Using tiny, tubelike cameras that look inside the body, miniaturized instruments and imaging machines that provide real-time views in the operating room, minimally invasive surgeries result in much smaller incisions and decreased recovery time. Advantages of minimally invasive surgery include: 


  • Less blood loss
  • Decreased need for blood transfusions
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Decreased pain and need for postoperative pain medications
  • Earlier resumption of regular diet
  • Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
  • Less scarring and improved cosmetic appearance

Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)

VATS can be used to aid in the diagnosis of lung and esophageal cancers. Using a limited number of tiny incisions, small diameter video-thoracoscopes can allow examination of the entire thoracic cavity (see diagram at right). Biopsies of the lining of the chest cavity (pleura), lung nodules, mediastinal masses and pleural fluid can easily be obtained for diagnosis. In certain instances, definitive therapy can be performed at the same time, such as pleurodesis for pleural effusions. VATS is the technique of choice for the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. The procedure usually requires an overnight stay in hospital.