Many patients in need of surgery of the lung are referred for a minimally invasive surgery, known as a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), which is done through several small incisions, versus a major chest incision, and requires no rib spreading. The large majority of all lung cancer patients in need of surgery at Smilow Cancer Hospital are scheduled for a VATS procedure.
For patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer, a minimally invasive esophagectomy, or MIE, is a video-assisted surgical procedure that utilizes instruments introduced into the body through very small incisions and a laparoscope, or tiny camera. MIE removes the esophagus and creates the reconstruction using small access incisions and a camera to see areas that normally could only be seen by looking through a substantially larger incision. VATS lung and esophageal cancer resections are offered at only a small minority of larger hospitals in the US.