Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., is the first hospital in the state to use new 3-D vision technology for minimally invasive lung surgery.
The technology is called 3-D video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). A small video camera is introduced into the patient’s chest with a scope. Then surgical instruments are inserted through other small incisions. The surgeon wears 3-D goggles, which restore the depth perception that is lost with conventional two-dimensional video-assisted systems.
Marcelo DaSilva, MD, FACS, used the system while performing surgery on lung cancer patient Don Parks, a retired police officer who lives in LaSalle, Ill. DaSilva removed the lower lobe of Parks’ right lung. It was Parks’ second bout of cancer. In 2006, Parks was successfully treated at Loyola for laryngeal cancer.
The minimally invasive technique results in less pain, faster recovery and smaller scars than open surgery. Most patients go home in one or two days and fully recover in two weeks. The patient is left with three small scars, each less than an inch across.
Parks said the post-surgical pain lasted only a couple days and was well controlled by pain meds. “It wasn’t bad at all,” he said. He also appreciates the small incisions and how quickly he is healing.
In conventional video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, a tiny camera called a thoracoscope, transmits images of the surgery to a 2-D video monitor that the surgeon views while performing the surgery. With the 3-D technology, the surgeon instead views the surgery through 3-D goggles.
The 3-D system produces a high-resolution image and stereoscopic depth perception. It provides a precise spatial view of anatomy and improves the surgeon’s hand-eye coordination. It is especially beneficial in performing more complex tasks.
“For the first time in laparoscopic surgery, this system enables the surgeon to experience a natural, 3-D view inside the human body,” DaSilva said.
The 3-D VATS system can be used for thoracic procedures such as lung cancer surgery, biopsies and removal of mediastinum tumors, DaSilva said.
DaSilva recently joined Loyola as director of Thoracic Surgery. In addition to performing minimally invasive lung cancer surgery, DaSilva is one of the world’s top specialists in performing complex surgeries for rare mesothelioma cancers.