A medical breakthrough has allowed doctors to remove an entire lung from the body of a cancer patient, clean the diseased tissue, and return it to the source in a revolutionary surgical technique that may entirely change the way cancers are treated in the future.
The operation is one that has only been performed a handful of times, worldwide. The patient, in his mid-40s, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor which blocked a main artery in his lung, leading to its collapse. He was admitted to the Rabin Medical Center at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel, and the immediate assumption by medical personnel was that the lung would need to be re-sectioned while the patient awaited a full transplant.
A new procedure was presented to the patient, which included the benefit of avoiding the possible years of deterioration and possible death that are usually faced by people under similar circumstances, while saving them from excruciating chemotherapy, as well.
A highly skilled team of surgeons, anesthesiologists, and medical technicians participated in the complex surgery which spanned several hours to complete.
“If we were to have simply cut out the lung alone, awaiting a transplant, the patient’s condition would continue to be life-threatening,” said Dr. Yuri Faischowitz, Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Beilinson Hospital in an interview with Dr. Itai Gal of Ynet News.
Techniques used during the procedure allowed the patient to continue to breathe out of his unaffected lung, while the disease-ridden one was surgically disconnected from his system and cleaned of all cancerous tissues, then reinserted and inflated to check that it was functional, similar to the processes followed in a traditional lung transplant procedure.
“The new method may change the way patients treat cancer in the world,” said Prof. Dan Arev, a participant in the surgery alongside Dr. Faischowitz.
This technique is adaptable, and can be applied to other organs to clear them of cancer, as well. The mortality rate for lung cancer is quite high, however death rates of patients afflicted with it have been drastically reduced since the 1990s. Medical advancements continue to offer new hope to patients who would have otherwise had much fewer options in combating the illness.