Famed TB patient Andrew Speaker, who put respiratory disease in the global headlines earlier this summer when he traveled extensively on commercial airlines while infected with drug-resistant TB, had surgery in late July to remove infected lung tissue.

The surgery is designed to most of the TB bacteria in the lungs and leave behind a minute amount that can be killed by medication. The surgery uses a minimally invasive approach called video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). Small holes are made in the side of the chest through which the surgeon inserts a fiber-optic camera and surgical instruments. VATS patients have less pain and recover more quickly than those who undergo a standard thoracotomy where a larger incision is made and the ribs are spread.

Speaker’s operation was performed at the University of Colorado Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. Leading surgeon was John D. Mitchell, chief of general thoracic surgery at the hospital.

Dr Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and senior medical correspondent for CNN, watched the operation and said everyone who observed the operation as well as the medical team had to wear special air-tight masks to avoid infection.