Breast and Chest
A diagnosis of an abnormal mass or imaging shadow in the breast can be very stressful. The surgeons at SilverBow Surgical Associates work with local experts in radiology and pathology, as well as specialists at the St. James Cancer Center to determine the best treatment plan.
Mammograms and ultrasounds are used to identify breast lesions that are suspicious for cancer and that may require surgical removal. Surgical breast conditions can be non-cancerous, pre-cancerous, or a form of cancer. Usually, breast cancer surgery involves removal of the lesion and the surrounding healthy tissue from the breast (lumpectomy), and this is typically followed by radiation treatments to the remaining breast tissue. Sometimes a full mastectomy is necessary. Many breast cancer operations also require a biopsy of the lymph nodes nearest the breast, a process that involves a second incision in the armpit.
Breast surgery is also performed on men for conditions such as gynecomastia or suspicion of cancer.
LUNG AND CHEST SURGERY
A bronchoscopy is a procedure which uses a long, flexible tube with a camera to examine the inside of the airways and lungs. After a breathing tube is inserted to protect the airway, the bronchoscope can be used to take biopsies of a lung mass, remove blockages of the airways, or collect cells by washing the airway surface with a mild salt solution. It is also used to look for infection, investigate reasons for coughing up blood, and to help in the treatment of pneumonia.
A mediastinoscopy is a surgical procedure to look at the area between the lungs (mediastinum) for abnormalities. It is most often used for staging lung cancer. However it can also be used to find infection or inflammation. It involves inserting a lighted, flexible tube with a tiny camera through an incision at the top of the breastbone into the area between the two lungs. Biopsies can then be gathered from the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Mediastinoscopy is usually done as an outpatient procedure.
VIDEO-ASSISTED THORACOSCOPIC SURGERY (VATS)
Thoracoscopy can be viewed as a laparoscopic surgery for the chest. It is a surgical technique that involves inserting a tiny camera and other surgical instruments into the chest through 3 small incisions. VATS can be used to treat early stage lung cancer, take lung biopsies, remove blebs (air blisters), wash out infected portions of the lung, and manage spontaneous lung collapse. It typically has fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay than a thoracotomy.
Depending on the type and stage of lung cancer, a surgical removal of a lobe (lobectomy) or part of the lobe of the lung may be required. This includes a surgical incision to open the chest wall called a thoracotomy. After surgery, one or more tubes may remain in the chest area to drain out excess fluids and air. An inpatient hospital stay of 5-7 days can be expected but can be longer depending on the patient’s medical condition at the time of surgery.