Thoracic Surgery Overview

Thoracic Surgery Overview

Ocala Thoracic Surgery

It may sound intimidating, but quite simply put, thoracic surgery is any surgery in that is needed in the chest area of the body. The term “thoracic” comes from the word “thorax,” which is derived from the Greek/Latin term for “chest” or “breastplate.”

Lung Surgery

Ocala Lung Surgery

As advanced as imaging technology may be, surgery is often required to get a closer look at the inside of the lungs and to help treat lung problems. Two types of procudures are usually performed to learn more about what is needed for your particular case: thoracoscopy or thoracotomy. Your surgeon will choose the method that’s best for your condition.

Thoracoscopy

Thoracoscopy is a minimally invasive technique that uses several small incisions. Our Ocala surgeon will place a thin tube containing a camera (thoracoscope) through one incision and then view and “explore” the inside of the chest cavity on a video monitor. A thoracoscope is an endoscopic instrument, which is usually composed of either two channels. In a two-channel thoracoscope, one channel is a fiber optic light channel that allows the surgeon to bring light into the chest cavity. The other channel is an optic system that allows the surgeon to look down the scope into the chest cavity, and to introduce instruments that can be used to obtain pieces of abnormal tissue (biopsies).

Thoracotomy

Thoracotomy is an open chest technique that uses a larger incision in the chest. This opening allows the surgeon to see the lungs directly. The lung to be operated on is deflated, while a breathing tube helps your other lung continue working. The deflated lung can then be examined and any necessary procedure performed, including removing part or all of the lung. In some cases, nearby lymph nodes may be removed, as well.

Either procedure may be done alone, or a thoracoscopy may be done to help decide whether a thoracotomy is needed.

A Lung Mass

Once inside the lung, if your Ocala surgeon finds a mass a biopsy (sample) can be removed and examined to determine whether the growth is benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). In addition, the exact location and size of the mass can be measured, and other areas can be examined to check whether the mass has spread. If the mass needs to be removed, its size, location, and spread determine how much of the surrounding lung also needs to be removed. Removal of part or all of a lung is called lung resection.

Pleural effusion

Pleural effusion

Pleural effusion is like too much of a good thing. Normally, there is a s small quantity of fluid spread thinly over the visceral and parietal pleurae. These are the two membranes that cover the lungs. This fluid acts as a lubricant between the two membranes. Pleural effusion is a condition that occurs when there is any significant increase in fluid between these membranes that separate the lungs from the chest wall.

The most common symptoms of pleural effusion are chest pain and painful breathing (pleurisy). Many pleural effusions cause no symptoms but are discovered during physical examination or detected on chest X-rays; X-ray is the most convenient way to confirm the diagnosis. Pleural effusion can be caused by heart and kidney failure, hypoalbuminemia (low levels of albumin in the blood), infections, pulmonary embolism, and malignancies.

Our Ocala surgeons bring great relief to pleural effusion patients through a procedure to either:
remove restricting tissue around the lung
applying medicine to reduce fluid accumulation,
or to insert a temporary drainage tube, which substantially reduces symptoms associated with the fluid collection.

Surgical Specialists of Ocala prefer to perform this procedure through the minimally invasive technique of Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). This involves the insertion of a long, thin tube (called a thoracoscope) through a small incision, or port. The thoracoscope’s miniature camera allows the surgeon to view and examine the chest cavity. Additional specially designed instruments inserted through one or two more ports enable the surgeon to remove tissue.

The VATS procedure is preferred in order to reduce recovery time and the higher risks of complications from an open procedure. However, Surgical Specialists of Ocala always determine the best course of action for each patient on an individual basis.