Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) Lobecotmy is performed for treatment of lung cancer. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia with lung isolation. Typically one 4-5 cm incision and one to two 1 cm incision is made in the chest cavity. The pulmonary artery, pulmonary vein and bronchus that are associated with the lobe is isolated and divided using a stapler. Once the specimen is removed, the lymph nodes are dissected out and a chest tube is placed in the chest cavity.
VATS Lobectomy is a very safe and effective treatment for lung cancer. However, in the presenc of adhesions or variation in anatomy, this method may become dangerous and your surgeon may need to make the prudent decision to continue by making the traditional incision to safely complete the operation. Complication from the surgery include bleeding, infection (such as pneumonia and wound infection), atrial fibrillation, persistent air leak and injury to surrounding structures. Other rare risks are respiratory insufficiency, myocardial infarction, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli and stroke.
Typically patients are in the hospital for 2 to 5 days after the surgery. The chest tube is removed once there are no air leak from the chest tube and minimal drainage. Once the chest tube is removed and the patient’s pain is well controlled on oral pain medication, patient is discharged home.