New technique developed at CHUM could be breath of fresh air for lung surgery patients
While treatment for lung cancer usually comes with several risks and a long recovery, researchers at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal say they’ve come up with a new less invasive technique that could make future treatments easier on patients.
Thorascopic lobectomy is performed using small incisions and a tiny video camera, while traditional lung surgery involves a large incision and opening the ribs, which can be painful and have a months-long recovery.
CHUM surgeon Moishe Liberman said many doctors have been hesitant to perform thorascopic lobectomies because the arteries supplying the lungs with blood are thin and fragile.
“A lot of surgeons aren’t comfortable using the minimally invasive or camera techniques as opposed to the open or traditional techniques, where if you have a problem you can put your hand in and compress the bleeding and fix it,” he said.
Liberman and his team developed a device that they said safely seals the lung vessels using ultrasound.
Allan Sandler has undergone the surgery at CHUM twice to remove cancerous lesions from his lungs.
“I had major heart surgery 25 years ago, so I know what it is for them to open you,” he said. “They didn’t do anything orthoscopic ally at that time, so there’s a huge difference.”
This week Liberman and his team are presenting the results of a large international clinical study.
“I think once this study’s published, it’s pretty much a green light for everyone around the world to be able to start using it,” he said.
Sandler said he was shocked at how quickly he recovered and how little pain there was.
“I mean literally I came back to my room and I don’t know if it was two or three hours after, I was walking up and down the corridor,” he said. “I went and got myself a coffee, it was like ‘Yeah, so what, this is great.’”
Despite having 50 per cent of his lungs removed, Sandler said he has no intention of slowing his life down, continuing his work producing musicals like Les Belles Soeurs.
“He’s very active, he does stairs, he does exercise, he’s living the kind of life someone would have if they didn’t have lung surgery,” said Liberman.