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World No Tobacco Day 2018: Everything you needed to know about video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for lung cancer

The damage to the lung tissue can’t be repaired and the only thing that can be done is therapy and medication to ease the symptoms. © Shutterstock

Here are few questions answered by Dr Atul Mishra on VATS.

Written by Debjani Arora |Published : May 29, 2018 6:07 PM IST

The perils of tobacco consumption cannot be stated less. In India, every 6th second a person loses his life battling diseases due to excess and prolonged consumption of tobacco. Of the fatalities caused due to tobacco, significant proportions (nearly 10 percent) are second-hand smokers, who are either the kids or the female counterparts of the men who smoke. When it comes to lung cancer, tobacco consumption and smoking are believed to be the main culprits. While quitting smoking and tobacco can go a long way in safeguarding one from the dangers of cancer but if diagnosed a timely treatment is what can increase the chances of survival. Here Dr Atul Mishra Professor of General Surgery and Unit Head at DMC&H, Ludhiana talks to us about the surgery precisely called VATS or video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery to treat lung cancer. Read to know how VATS can help to treat tuberculosis.

'Most lung cancers can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation or a combination of three. With advancements in treatment options including surgery procedures such as VATS (Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery), a form of minimally invasive keyhole surgical technique used to diagnose and treat problems in the chest, can be used to treat and manage the complications of lung cancer too. These newer techniques are designed to reduce pain and improve recovery times. Here are few FAQs on lung cancer answered by an expert.

Here are few questions answered by Dr Mishra on VATS

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What is VATS?

VATS is Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery a form of minimally invasive keyhole surgery used to diagnose and treat problems in the chest. Small cuts are made on the body. A tiny camera and surgical instruments are inserted into the chest wall. The camera transmits images of the inside of the chest into a video monitor guiding the surgeon in performing any procedure in the chest and lungs.

What are benefits of VATS?

VATS allows a small incision with better vision and less pain after the operation. There is less blood loss, shorter hospital stay, early recovery, minimal breathing problems and better quality of life after surgery.

Where can VATS be used?

it can be used for diagnostic biopsy of all benign and cancerous conditions involving lungs, pleura or mediastinum staging of lymph nodes in lung cancer and biopsy in interstitial lung disease.

For treatment purpose it can be used to treat:

  • benign and malignant (cancerous) tumours
  • pleural effusion (fluid in chest )
  • acute and chronic empyema (pus in chest)
  • chylothorax
  • excision of benign and cancerous lesion of lungs
  • resection of bleb and bullae (thin-walled air sac in lungs)
  • repair of bronchopleural fistula (BPF)
  • tuberculosis
  • aspergilloma with hemoptysis, hydatid cyst
  • necrotizing pneumonitis and bronchiectasis
  • excision of mediastinal cyst and tumour
  • thymus excision for thymoma and myasthenia gravis
  • achlasiaesophagus
  • benign tumour of oesophagus
  • closure of the patent pleuroperitoneal canal
  • eventration of diaphragm
  • sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis of axilla and palm and in chronic abdominal pain.

What are the complications?

Pain, bleeding and air leak from lungs. But these complications are rare in experienced hands.

Can it be done in sick and serious patients?

Yes, it is safe even in patient's debilitation and marginal pulmonary reserve where it can be done even under local intercostals block with sedation.

Image source: Shutterstock

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