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Single-incision Thoracic Surgery: Why?

The evolution in lung cancer minimally invasive surgery allows Thoracic Surgeons in CITMIA to perform procedures through a single 4 cm incision, assisted with a high-definition videocamera and specific videothoracoscopic instruments.

A lung cancer patient may hesitate about the advantages and safety of Single-Incision VATS.
In this short post, we answer the frequent questions and we show you the main advantages.

What is exactly SINGLE-INCISION VATS approach?
Single-incision VATS is defined as “single-incision video-assisted thoracic surgery”, which means “videoassisted thoracic surgery through a unique incision”. Videoasisted thoracic surgery allows to perform thoracic procedures that were performed with big incisions and rib spread,  through smaill incisions (we call them ports), without rib spread and assisted with high-resolution optics, videocamera and specific instruments. Thus, surgeons look directly to the screen and not to the surgical field. Single-incision VATS is the most innovative technique of VATS surgery, performing the procedure through a single 4 cm incision avoiding unnecessary aditional ports.

Which are the advantages comparing to traditional multi-port VATS?
Postoperative pain is related to intercostal nerve trauma during the surgery, which run along the rib from back to sternum, where we lean our instruments. By decreasing the number of surgical wounds to only one, we only hurt one intercostal nerve reducing significantly postoperative pain in our patients.
In the other hand, surgeon's view of anatomical structures improves due to geometrical reasons, because his view and the instruments go in the same direction, thus avoiding mental process of integration of different levels as in traditional multi-port VATS.

Is “Single-incision VATS” safe?
Of course it is safe, as several scientific papers have proved, thus being the gold-standard approach in the main centers in Europe, United States of America and Asia. It is necessary to accomplish a learning curve period before starting (at least 50 major procedures such as lobectomies), and skill development because we decrease the surgical wound space where we work during the operation. CITMIA thoracic surgeons are widely experienced with this approach and have even performed advanced interventions in lung cancer through this approach, only available in high-level centers.

Which are the advantages for me, as a patient?
Main advanatge for the patient is the decrease in postoperative pain, thus reducing pain-killers usage and improving patient's comfort. All of this allows the patient to begin walking earlier, helps with pulmonary secretions removal to avoid respiratory infections, and being sooner fit for postoperative eventual therapies such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It also presents cosmetic benefits by reducing surgical scar to a unique 4 cm wound. All of this helps the patient to live a painless experience of his disease and his operation, so he can standardize his daily life as soon as possible. Your comfort and wellness are our success as minimally invasive surgeons.

Is this approach available in all Thoracic Surgery centers?
Nowadays you can only find this approach in centers with highly qualified surgeons such as our staff in CITMIA, which offers his services in Vithas Perpetuo Socorro and Vithas Medimar Hospitals in Alicante, and Clinica Benidorm Hospital in Benidorm. If you are interested in more info, just contact us and we will offer tailored assesment for your case.

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