A new international clinical trial will be launched to test a minimally invasive surgical approach for lung cancer patients.

The University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) is launching a major international clinical trial to test a minimally invasive and safer surgical approach for patients with lung cancer: video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) lobectomy with ultrasonic pulmonary artery sealing.

Monic Ste-Marie, 48, is one of the first to benefit from this procedure developed by Dr Moishe Liberman, a thoracic surgeon and researcher at the CRCHUM. On January 19, 2016, he successfully removed the one-centimetre tumour lodged in her left lung. The operation involved making three small incisions in her chest and then removing the diseased portion of her lung, guided by a video camera and using an electronic device to seal the pulmonary artery by ultrasound to prevent bleeding during the operation.

“I think this technique could completely change the way we perform surgery for lung cancer, which is the deadliest form of cancer in North America,” said Dr Liberman, who is also an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Montreal.

Currently, pulmonary lobectomy is the most commonly performed lung cancer operation in the world. It involves opening the chest and cutting the ribs to remove the lung lobe containing the cancerous tumour. But it leaves a long scar, and patients take up to six months to recover from this invasive and risky procedure. In the past 20 years, a new technique has developed: video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) lobectomy. Instead of making a long incision in the chest and breaking the ribs, surgeons simply make small holes to reach the target area. Their actions are guided by a miniature video camera inserted in the chest wall through one of the holes.

Photo Credit: CHUM

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