Only very experienced thoracic surgeons can perform complex airway reconstructions. At MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, our thoracic surgeons are among the most talented and innovative in the world, as they perform almost all of their thoracic surgical procedures using a minimally invasive approach.
What is a minimally invasive approach?
A minimally invasive approach to thoracic surgery means that instead of cracking open your breastbone, your surgeon makes two or three very small incisions in the chest. Then, using extremely small instruments and a lighted microscope and video camera, your doctor can perform whatever surgical procedure is necessary.
How are complex airway reconstructions performed?
Again, using very small incisions, your thoracic surgeon accesses the surgical area and removes the growth or tumor causing the symptoms. Then, he or she recreates the anatomy of the airway using the patient’s own tissues, or those from a donor, so that the internal workings of the thoracic area, including the airways and esophagus are repaired.
These very complex, rare surgeries are performed in very few hospitals across the world, and even fewer institutions have thoracic surgeons who are practiced in using a minimally invasive approach to repair the airways.
One of our thoracic surgeons, M. Blair Marshall, MD, has a fine arts background. She says that this way of being able to dimensionally visualize the shapes and structures of the thoracic area help her to perform these surgeries looking through a camera and working in a very small visual space.
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