Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery

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Success Stories Read
VATS helped
Charlie Gallen

Marlin Beach

Prashant C. Shah, MD

Dr. Prashant C. Shah, MD, joined the Thoracic Surgery team in August 2010.

Video-Assisted Therapy

With this technological advance, the Thoracic Surgery team at Fox Chase Cancer Center can offer potentially curative surgery to patients who might not have qualified in the past.

Benefit to Patients:
  • reduced post-operative pain
  • faster recovery
  • shorter hospital stay
  • reduced scarring
  • minimal trauma to the chest wall

Surgeons at Fox Chase use VATS to perform lung biopsies, pleural biopsies, wedge resections and lobectomies for patients with lung cancer, esophageal cancer, mediastinal tumors, Pancoast tumors and tumors of the chest wall.

Surgical Treatment for
Cancers of the Lung

Thoracic surgeons use Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) most often for removing a lobe of a cancerous lung through 2 to 4 small incisions.

Conventional, open lobectomy usually requires making a 6- to 10-inch incision, cutting the major chest muscles, and spreading or even removing ribs. With VATS, these procedures are no longer necessary. Instead, the surgeon gains access to the chest by inserting a state-of-the-art telescope, video camera and surgical tools into a small space between the ribs.

Walter J. Scott, MD, FACS, chief of thoracic surgery at Fox Chase, is one of the area's most experienced surgeons in the use of VATS for lobectomy to treat lung cancer.

Reducing the Need for Major Surgery

Walter J. Scott, MD, FACS

Dr. Walter Scott

Dr. Scott was the first surgeon in the Delaware Valley to investigate the use of ultrasound bronchoscopy (endobronchial ultrasound) to evaluate lymph nodes in the chest, a procedure that can potentially reduce the need for invasive surgery. He also offers robotic surgery for chest tumors, using the ViKY® system — a robotically controlled holder for the scope and camera. This new robotic technology serves as a "third hand" for the surgeon, providing greater precision and control in VATS procedures.

Minimally Invasive Esophagectomies

Minimally Invasive SurgeryToday, using minimally invasive techniques, such as VATS, surgeons can perform esophagectomies with fewer complications, improved quality of life and better outcomes, and without compromising oncologic principles.

Fox Chase is a longstanding and well-recognized regional center of excellence for esophageal surgery with very high surgical patient volumes. In esophageal surgery, both surgeon and institutional volume has been extensively correlated with patient mortality. Current surgical literature affirms that esophagectomies are preformed with the lowest expected patient mortality in this setting.

With conventional, open surgery, an esophagectomy required a laparotomy (accessing the abdominal cavity through an incision in the abdominal wall) and thoracotomy (a large incision between the ribs). A recent meta analysis of almost 1400 minimally invasive esophagectomies demonstrated a operative mortality that is approximately half of the accepted mortality for open esophagectomy.