VATS that?

This Friday, January 9, 2015, I will undergo the procedures to check out whether the cancer is gone. Between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM an interventional radiologist will place tracers near my left lung. The “dye” can be used by the surgeon to localize small-sized pulmonary nodules. Between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM the thoracic surgeon will cut out the lesion in the lung and strip out some lymph nodes adjacent to the lung.

The surgeon will use VATS, or video assisted thoracic surgery. This should mean that my hospital stay (about 3 days) and recovery (about 14 days) will be shorter than busting open the chest and spreading the rib cage in the old way. By the way, I won’t know the full biopsy results for several days after the surgery. Blogging during this time will be sporadic (or perhaps more idiotic than normal).

Below, I have attached a video of a left upper lobectomy which is somewhat similar to the procedure that will be used in my situation. At about 1:14 and then again at 7:10 of the video, you can see where the three chest holes are used to insert the camera in one port, and the grasping and cutting (burning) devices into the other two ports.  I suppose ’cause everything is all about me and, as such, there can never be too much information, I find this stuff utterly fascinating. I am little nervous, however, that my surgeon trained at the Grace L. Ferguson Storm Door and Medical School.*


*Actually, he graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, and completed a research fellowship and general surgery residency at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., and a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Really nice guy, by the way.

17 responses

  1. Very fascinating. Back in the dark ages I took care of innumerable patients post thoracotomy, the old style of opening the chest for lobectomy. Very traumatic and painful. Good luck with your VAT.

  2. Like it or not, Your Honor, I expect that many of us more “spiritual types” out here will be praying for skillful and successful techniques by the medical people and a very quick recovery for you.

  3. Judge:
    Everything is going to turn out just fine. As an aside, since I am a New Yorker I like the idea that your surgeon was partially trained here at Columbia.

  4. Good luck, and have fun. You are going to do this under local anaesthetic, yes? For two reasons: one, you get to watch, and that sort of thing is enormously fascinating. And two, selfishly for me, you’ll be able to live blog and video the thing, so I get to watch, too.

    And: fast recovery. Like all the preceding, you’ll get through this easily, too.

    Eric Hines

  5. You have so many following your progress – I know you will do great with a speedy recovery.
    Just be sure that the surgeon doesn’t remove your funny bone. We all appreciate your biting sense of humor.

  6. Hopes that it goes as planned and that you have an easy recovery. Having your great attitude and sense of humor will certainly help!

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