Minimally Invasive Technologies Proving Weapons of Choice in Treatment Arsenal for Chest Disorders, Lung Problems

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Minimally invasive surgical techniques, such as robotic surgery and CyberKnife radiosurgery, are becoming the weapons of choice for treating cancers of the lungs, esophagus and chest. One of the major benefits that these new procedures have for the patient is much more rapid recovery time.

CyberKnife delivers such precise radiation to the tumor that we can keep treatments to three or four

Minimally invasive techniques, including video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, robotic surgery and CyberKnife radiosurgery, are increasingly becoming the weapons of choice in the surgeon’s arsenal for treating cancers and other disorders of the lungs, esophagus and chest, according to a leading thoracic surgeon in the Cancer Institute at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

“One of the major benefits of minimally invasive surgery is the patient’s rapid recovery time – much faster than recovery after a standard surgical procedure,” said thoracic surgeon, Paul Gordon MD, who is currently featured on YouTube at and “For example, the average stay in the hospital following minimally invasive lung surgery is only about four days; resumption of full activity can occur in less than five weeks.”

Use of minimally invasive surgery also minimizes post-operative pain and discomfort, Dr. Gordon said.

As one of the largest thoracic surgery centers in the Chicago region, Christ Medical Center physicians perform more than 900 thoracic operations annually. Disorders treated range from cancers of the esophagus, lungs and chest to motility problems, such as difficulty in swallowing, and hyperhidrosis, an excessive sweating condition.

“Christ Medical Center and its Cancer Institute are part of the American College of Surgeons Cancer Network. As such, we analyze our outcomes data on a quarterly basis. In the treatment of lung and esophageal cancers, for example, we are exceeding national averages. We have better outcomes,” Dr. Gordon stated.

One of the newest minimally invasive technologies, proven particularly effective for the treatment of lung tumors, has been the CyberKnife.

“Instead of requiring a patient to undergo as many as 30 radiation treatments, CyberKnife delivers such a precise, high dose of radiation to the tumor site that we are able to keep treatments to three or four,” Dr. Gordon said. “Additionally, CyberKnife radiosurgery is completely external and performed on an outpatient basis. We do not have to insert a needle in the patient’s chest to deliver the radiation.”

CyberKnife therapy is particularly appropriate for elderly patients and patients with multiple medical problems who would be unable to tolerate more standard surgical procedures.

Outcomes data, which Christ Medical Center has presented at scientific meetings, indicates that CyberKnife radiosurgery is 85 percent to 90 percent effective in controlling localized lung tumors, Dr. Gordon said.

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