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Minimally Invasive Options for Surgery: February 1, 2019

Expert care combined with state of the art technology. “We take a lot of pride in our program. It should give patients some level of comfort that when they come here for their treatment, they are going to get expert care,” said Dr. Michael DeFrain, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Lee Health.

New approaches to lung cancer surgery are making procedures and recovery time easier for patients. “Minimal invasive techniques are obviously preferable to more invasive techniques because we want to minimize the impact to the patient,” said Dr. DeFrain.

There are two techniques for minimally invasive thoracic surgery: the first is VATS, which stands for video-assisted thoracic surgery. The other is robotic surgery. Both offer unique advantages. “The robot is used to minimize the impact on the patient, and it’s typically done through five different incisions. Each incision is about 8mm which is about the width of my finger tip,” he said.

Small ports are then placed in the incisions—which the surgeon controls from a separate station. “The benefits of the robot are it's very precise, and it provides the surgeon a third hand,” said Dr. DeFrain.

In lung cancer cases, the robot gives the surgeon the ability to remove lymph nodes, which is critical in determining the stage of cancer. “By removing all the lymph nodes possible, with the approved techniques and capability provide by the robot, then we are going to be able to treat the patient the best way possible,” Dr. DeFrain said.

Advancements that are helping patients get the answers and treatment they need while getting them home sooner. “Most of the patients after surgery are awake, talking, walking, within 12 hours of their operation,” he said.

Giving patients the care they need through minimally invasive options.

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