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Minimally Invasive Lung Cancer Surgery Minimize the Treatment Timings

Diagnosed with a carcinoid tumor, Barbara Wolfe underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to have the upper lobe of her right lung and the lymph nodes in her chest// removed. But the 54-year-old exercise instructor lost little time before going back to work, thanks to the minimally invasive procedure.

'I went home (from the hospital) the next day, and the fifth day I was back at the gym teaching my Power Pump class with 50 people,' says the Camarillo resident, referring to an aerobic workout that employs weights, bands and a step. A fitness instructor for nearly 25 years, she did not use the weights in that first workout. Even so, her boss, who was teaching another class nearby, quickly intervened to be sure she was really OK.

'He saw me flying over the steps and running around like a crazy girl, so he came out of his class and jumped into my class. He said, 'If you don't stop that right now, you are done' – kind of kidding, but not kidding,' says Wolfe. The whole club was worried about me: 'She just had lung surgery and look what she’s doing.'

In the same week, she also taught two Spin, or indoor cycling, classes.

McKenna, surgical director of Cedars-Sinai's Center for Chest Diseases and chief of Thoracic Surgery and Trauma, is a pioneer in video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Since 1989, he has researched and written extensively about the procedures and technologies that make it possible to perform major chest operations through small incisions, reducing hospital stays, pain, recovery times and complication rates.

'Inside the chest, Barbara had the same operation that she would have had if she had undergone a traditional thoracotomy. Most surgeons make an incision that varies from four to 10 inches in length. Some cut major muscles of the chest wall, some spare them, but they all cut the muscles in between the ribs and spread the ribs open in order to get into the chest and see and do the
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