Minimally Invasive Surgery for the Lungs, Esophagus and Chest

Thoracic surgeons at Central Maine Medical Center treat problems of the lungs, esophagus and chest with cancer diagnosis and treatment making up a significant part of their practice.

Our surgeons are often able to use minimally invasive procedures to examine the chest cavity, treat collapsed lungs, perform biopsies, aid in major resections for lung cancer, and treat other conditions.

Also known as laparoscopic surgery, minimally invasive techniques involve one or more small incisions each about a half-inch or less in length and the insertion of a tube. The tubes allow the surgeon to place tiny video cameras and specially designed surgical instruments inside the body in order to perform the procedure. The sophisticated technology gives CMMCs surgeons great precision, flexibility and control.

Minimally invasive procedures for the lungs benefit our patients in a variety of ways over open-chest incisions. Through laparoscopic techniques, our patients often feel less pain, lose less blood, receive minimal scarring, enjoy a shorter hospital stay, and return to their normal activities faster.

Central Maine Medical Centers offers the following minimally invasive surgeries for the lungs, esophagus and chest.

  • Achalasiaa - Achalasiaa is a disorder of the esophagus that makes it difficult to swallow food. Our surgeons regularly remedy the disorder with minimally invasive techniques.

  • Barrett's Esophagus -Baretts esophagus is a precancerous condition that develops as a result of gastroesphageal reflux disease. CMMC surgeons can treat the problem with a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure.

  • Esophageal Cancer - Patients who have esophageal cancer are often candidates for resection of the esophagus. Our surgeons can perform resections in most patients using minimally invasive techniques, which may reduce the risk of complications after surgery, shorten hospital stay, and provide long-term benefits for cancer survival.

  • Lung Cancer - Whenever possible, CMMC surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to remove nodules and tumors for a fast and accurate diagnosis. If cancer is present, the surgeon may perform one of the following procedures using video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) or robot-assisted techniques:

    • Wedge resection: Removal of the tumor and tissue surrounding the cancer
    • Segmental resection: Removal of the tumor and surrounding anatomic structures
    • Lobectomy: Removal of the entire cancerous lobe of the lung

Our thoracic surgeons work closely with other CMMC cancer experts to provide comprehensive treatment options for lung cancer.

  • Mediastinal Tumors - Mediastinal tumors are tumors that grow in the area of the chest that contains the heart, aorta, esophagus and trachea, known as the mediastinum. Although open surgery can be necessary, our thoracic surgeons use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible to remove mediastinal tumors.

  • Pleural Effusion - Pleural effusion is the presence of excess fluid in the area between the lungs and the chest wall. To remedy this problem, CMMC surgeons may use VATS surgery in one of several ways. The surgeon may remove the restricting tissue around the lung, apply medicine to reduce fluid accumulation, or insert a drainage tube, which reduces symptoms associated with the fluid collection.

  • Pneumothorax - When air leaks into the space between the lungs and chest wall, it can cause part or all of a lung to collapse. This is called Pneumothorax. Our surgeons perform VATS surgery and apply medicine to the pleural surfaces to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

  • Hyperhidrosis or Excessive Sweating - Using endoscopic techniques, our surgeons can destroy or remove the sympathetic nerve to reduce the symptoms.