Research & Education
Surgery for lung cancer removes the tissue that contains the tumor. The surgeon also removes nearby lymph nodes.
Surgical approaches to lung cancer at Roswell Park include the following:
Thoracoscopic lobectomy: The surgeon removes a lobe of the lung. This is the most common surgery for lung cancer.
Thoracoscopic pneumonectomy: The surgeon removes the entire lung.
Wedge resection: The surgeon removes the tumor and a small part of the lung.
Sleeve lobectomy: The surgeon removes a lung tumor in a lobe of the lung and a part of the main bronchus (airway). The ends of the bronchus are rejoined and any remaining lobes are reattached to the bronchus. This surgery is done to save part of the lung. This surgery is also called sleeve resection.
Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) offers a minimally invasive surgical alternative with many benefits for the patient. Nationally, only 20-30 percent of lung surgeries use the VATS approach, but at Roswell Park, the rate of using VATS is as high as 90 percent. Roswell Park is the world leader in the number of VATS procedures for removal of a lung. The entire surgical team incorporates minimally invasive techniques into lung cancer treatment.
If you perform a big open surgery on [a patient], your ability to get them through the operation is hampered. But minimally invasively, you can give them multimodality therapy and the logical conclusion is that there will be better outcomes." - Sai Yendamuri, MD
Our surgeons make three small incisions, or ports. A scope equipped with a camera is inserted through one port, providing an interior view of the chest, while surgical instruments are inserted through the other ports. Because the smaller incisions heal faster than large, traditional incisions, patients undergoing VATS typically enjoy these benefits:
Previously, VATS was not performed in patients with scar tissue in the chest due to asbestos exposure, prior radiation or chemotherapy. By improving on existing technology, Roswell Park lung surgeons are finding their way around that, too.