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Complex surgeries simplified for patients
More and more often, minimally invasive methods are options when you need surgery.
These procedures allow surgeons to operate with less disruption to your body than open surgery. In most cases, they result in less pain and shorter hospital stays.
At UW Health, we use minimally invasive techniques for many types of surgery. Some of these involve your lungs and esophagus. Our team is highly skilled and experienced. Their expertise is one reason why we received U.S. News and World Report's highest rating for lung cancer surgery.
About the treatment
What is minimally invasive surgery?
Surgery on your lungs or esophagus is complicated. In the past, it’s involved a large incision in the chest or abdomen.
Minimally invasive surgery uses unique approaches, small incisions and special instruments. Rather than a large cut, surgeons make several much smaller incisions. These may be in your chest between your ribs and/or in your abdomen. For some procedures, no incision is needed. The doctor reaches your operation site with instruments passed through your mouth or nose.
A video camera inserted into your body allows doctors to see the problem area by watching a monitor. The surgeon operates with tools passed through other small incisions. This type of surgery often allows patients to resume their regular routines more quickly.
Who can benefit from minimally invasive techniques?
Minimally invasive lung and esophageal surgery can treat many conditions. Some of the most common we treat include:
Esophageal motility disorders
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Thymus gland removal (thymectomy)
Most people who can have open surgery can be considered for minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor can help you decide if it’s right for you.
The treatment process
Less invasive, faster healing
Your surgery will be performed under general anesthesia. The steps involved depend on the condition we’re treating.
Types of minimally invasive surgeries
In most cases, treatment involves one of the following:
Laparoscopic surgery: Uses a laparoscope to see inside your abdomen. This is a thin tool with a video camera on its tip. Surgeons place the laparoscope through a small incision. They pass their instruments through other incisions.
Robotic surgery: Uses a camera and instruments that are part of a surgical robot. Surgeons insert the camera and tools into your body through small incisions. The surgeons direct them from a console using hand controls. This allows for great precision.
Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS): Uses a tool like a laparoscope. It helps see inside your chest. Surgeons hold the surgical tools outside of your body. They pass them through small incisions between your ribs.
Surgeries we offer at UW Health include:
Bronchoscopic lung volume reduction with PneumRx coils
Endoscopic mucosal resection
MIS foregut and hiatal surgery, including:
Laparoscopic and VATS diaphragm plication
Laparoscopic anti-reflux surgery (Nissen, Toupet, Dor fundoplication)
Laparoscopic myotomy and fundoplication for achalasia/other esophageal motility disorders
Laparoscopic paraesophageal hernia repair
Navigational bronchoscopy for lung biopsy
Robotic or VATS thymectomy
VATS lobectomy/lung resection
VATS lung volume reduction surgery
Meet our team
Depend on our knowledge, skill and experience
Not all surgeons have the expertise to perform minimally invasive surgery. At UW Health, our thoracic surgeons are highly skilled with deep experience. They’re ready to help you.
Turn to us
Minimally invasive lung and esophageal surgeries take place at University Hospital.
At UW Health, we provide a full range of services for conditions affecting your heart and circulatory system. Here, you’ll find expert preventive care, advanced diagnostic tests and innovative treatments.