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New Lung Cancer Surgery Speeds Healing

Inserting a camera, surgeons work without opening the chest

WEDNESDAY, July 6, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new minimally invasive surgery called thoracoscopic lobectomy can reduce pain and recovery time for patients with early stage lung cancer, according to a Michigan surgeon who is one of the first in the country to use the technique.

The procedure involves the removal of a portion of the lungs without spreading open the ribs or cutting large muscles, which occurs in traditional lung cancer surgery.

With this new technique, the surgeon makes three small incisions and then inserts a miniature camera through a fourth incision. This 'keyhole' approach allows the surgeon to view the inside of the chest during the operation.

According to Dr. Allan Pickens, a thoracic surgeon at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Ann Arbor, thoracoscopic lobectomy allows patients to leave the hospital in half the time of conventional lung cancer surgery. Many return to work within two weeks, he said.

"It's a way of treating cancer with a less invasive procedure that will get patients back to their regular activities sooner," Pickens said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about lung cancer.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, June 23, 2005
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