When considering invasive thoracic surgery, you have a few options for how it can be done. These choices include a conventional, open-surgical approach or a minimally invasive, video-assisted thoracoscopic (VAT) surgery. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to choose the best option.
Common Thoracic Surgeries
Thoracic surgery is a medical procedure that uses special instruments to diagnose and treat diseases and abnormalities in the chest. There are many different types of procedures. Each one can be done using a minimally invasive or traditional approach.
Thoracic surgeons like Armen Parajian treat lung cancer, heart disease, swallowing problems, and tracheal anomalies. While thoracic surgeries can be simple, they can also be complex. They can include testing to measure the functions of the heart and lungs, as well as the replacement of an organ or a part of the body.
Minimally invasive thoracic surgery is less traumatic than open thoracic surgery. However, you will need time to recover. Ask a friend to stay with you a few days after the surgery.
Thoracic surgeons may also recommend non-surgical interventions, such as an exercise routine and adjustments in posture. These steps can help you feel more comfortable with the decision.
If the procedure involves the removal of part of the lung, the patient will need to stop eating and drinking at least a month before the procedure. Your provider may also want to see your blood before the operation.
Minimally Invasive Vs. Open Surgery
Minimally invasive thoracic surgery offers some advantages over traditional open surgery. It can reduce the length of time a patient is in the hospital and enable quicker recovery. However, it has its risks. These include infections, air leakage from the lungs, bleeding, and abnormal heartbeats.
The decision about whether to choose minimally invasive or open thoracic surgery is usually made by a surgeon, who evaluates the patient’s medical history and examines the anatomy. They are also part of a multidisciplinary team that includes a pulmonologist, an oncologist, and a radiation oncologist.
Minimally invasive thoracic procedures can result in faster recovery than open surgeries, but there is still a risk of infection, injury to the organs, and bleeding. A surgeon must ensure the safety of the operation and that the patient recovers quickly.
MIS techniques, such as video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), allow a surgeon to visualize the surgical site. This allows the surgeon to insert a small camera and slender instruments through the incision.
Recovery from Thoracic Surgery
If you are undergoing invasive thoracic surgery, you may have questions about recovery. It’s important to understand the process to ensure a healthy recovery.
Depending on your type of surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for a few days. You will need time to rest and regain your strength. During this period, you will need help walking and eating. After a few days, you can return to normal activities.
Surgical procedures can be minimally invasive, open, or robotic. The most common procedure is coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), done on 200,000 people annually in the U.S.
For thoracic procedures, your doctor will perform tests to assess your heart and lungs. You will need imaging to determine the severity of your lung problems.
Postoperative complications, such as pneumonia, bleeding, and blood clots, are a concern. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk for these issues by keeping your body active and following a recovery plan.