VATS Lobectomy Lung Cancer Treatment

Attitude plays a big role in helping the body and mind heal. Shirley Trigg knows that all too well. Even she was surprised at how fast she bounced back from lung cancer and credits her surgeon for a large part of it.

“They saved my life. I remember he told me don’t worry about it, I’m going to take care of you,” said Trigg, a CHI Health Patient.

And he did. CHI Health Clinic Thoracic Surgeon - Dr. Marcus Balters performed a VATS Lobectomy or video assisted thoracoscopic surgery. It’s a minimally invasive surgical technique used to treat early stage lung cancer by removing a large section of the lung. Shirley’s cancer was the size of a marble.

“Nationwide the majority of operations for lung cancer are being done through a traditional large incision through the side. You go between the ribs but more and more people are moving towards VATS Lobectomy - that’s where you have small incisions usually two incisions about an inch across…a third incision may be a little bit bigger," said Marcus Balters, MD, Thoracic Surgery.

The VATS Lobectomy is an alternative to traditional lung cancer surgery but it’s important to note not everybody is a candidate. The size and location of the cancer as well as whether it’s spread to the lymph nodes will determine if the surgery is right for you.

“If we are able to do it through the small incisions it’s 3 to 5 days in the hospital if we have to convert to open operation it’s 5 to 7 days in hospital. The recovery time is 2 to 4 weeks until you’re feeling better after smaller incisions – the bigger operation 6 to 8 weeks until feeling back to themselves”, said Balters.

Shirley will tell you she was feeling back to her old self in no time. She had stage one lung cancer – as cancers go she was pretty lucky. Shirley never smoked a day in her life. She believes a regular check up and the cutting edge surgery she received from Dr. Balters gave her more time to spend with her family.

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