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Minimally invasive surgery for lung cancer

In patients who undergo surgery for lung cancer usually the entire chest has to be opened. The thoracic surgeons of the Medical Center – University of Freiburg are able to offer a gentler method: Bronchial carcinoma, also called lung cancer, is a malignant tumor of the bronchi or bronchioli. Bronchial carcinoma is one of the most frequent malignant diseases in man. The number of deaths from lung cancer is higher than that from breast, prostate and colon cancer combined.

This is primarily due to the asymptomatic growth of this type of cancer. As long as the tumor has not spread, surgical treatment is possible in patients diagnosed with lung cancer. Up to now, the whole chest had to be opened in this operation to remove the pulmonary lobes affected by the tumor. The Department of Thoracic Surgery of the Freiburg University Medical Center offers a new approach: “We now offer a so-called minimally invasive procedure to our patients”, explains Professor Dr. Bernward Passlick, Medical Director of Thoracic Surgery. With this method, which few hospitals offer as yet, only a small incision not longer than 5 cm is required.

With the help of a video camera, all steps of the procedure can be followed on a monitor, and the portion of the lung affected by the tumor can be removed with special newly developed tools. Even lymph nodes can be removed with this minimally invasive approach.

“For the patient, the great advantage of this method is significantly reduced pain after the operation and a much shorter recovery time”, states Professor Passlick. This is particularly important in elderly patients and patients with unfavorable pulmonary function.

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