Minimally invasive surgery means more options for patients
Howard Day might be the only Atco resident that
looks forward to mowing the lawn. "Only 10 months
ago, I learned I had lung cancer," he remembers.
"Now, after minimally invasive surgery (MIS) and
chemotherapy, a simple job like mowing my lawn
reminds me of how far I've come in my recovery."
Day's recovery began with minimally invasive
thoracic surgery at Virtua Health. This surgery
specifically targets thoracic cancers and growths on
the lungs. Unlike traditional surgery, this procedure
leaves patients with a smaller incision, shorter
hospital stay and a quicker recovery.
Christopher Derivaux, MD, Virtua thoracic surgeon,
says minimally invasive techniques are changing the
way patients and doctors treat thoracic cancers and
benign growths. "A traditional lung surgery requires
an eight- or nine-inch incision that includes spreading
the patient's ribs to get to the lung. Today, that same
surgery requires only a three-inch incision, and there
is no need to spread the ribs."
Dr. Derivaux also says patients once considered
too high risk to undergo traditional thoracic surgery
are benefiting from minimally invasive procedures.
"With MIS, I can treat people at almost any age or
weight - even those who have existing medical
conditions that might otherwise keep them from
having surgery," says Dr. Derivaux.
Hazel Hulme was one of those patients. At 79-
years-young, traditional lung surgery may have
caused complications and a long recovery.Without
a minimally invasive procedure, she might not
have had surgery at all. Instead, she remembers:
"I was admitted on a Thursday morning and, by
Sunday, I was on my way home. I had nothing more than a two-inch incision that healed quickly."
"MIS can benefit almost all patients that need
lung surgery, especially those with lung cancer," says
Dr. Derivaux. "It helps these patients recover quicker
so they can start additional treatments like chemotherapy
soon after surgery."
Day couldn't agree more. Only five days after his
lung surgery, he began working with his clinical team
on a treatment plan. "I left the hospital with nothing
but a few bandages and medications," says Day. "I
was prepared for the long journey ahead and ready
to get back to life."
Christopher Derivaux, MD, is a board-certified thoracic surgeon.
He graduated from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed
a surgical residency and a trauma critical care fellowship at Thomas Jefferson
University Hospital. He completed a fellowship in thoracic surgery at New York
University Medical Center.