Specialist Surgery for lung cancer patients now offered at NNUH

Specialised video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is being offered to lung cancer patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) after a successful pilot. Thoracic surgery at the NNUH is available to lung cancer patients who attend the NNUH, James Paget University Trust Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Kings Lynn, an estimated population of 1.5 million.

VATS lobectomy is a type of key-hole surgery which is carried out to remove some forms of lung cancer tumours. It has many benefits over traditional surgery; it is much less invasive and patients’ recovery is quicker resulting in much less time spent in hospital. The pain and discomfort during recovery is also significantly reduced and patients are left with just a few small scars. It is also more suitable for older patients who may not be fit enough to undergo the traditional operation.

The new service has been piloted following the appointment of Mr Waldemar Bartosik, Thoracic Surgical Consultant in December 2012. Since January 2013 75 patients have undergone this procedure, all with positive feedback and without major complications. Mr Bartosik is now training the Trust’s two other Thoracic consultants so that in 2014 the whole team will be able to perform this advanced surgery.

Within the first year of the VATS programme Mr Bartosik and the Thoracic team have ensured 55% of all lobectomies have been performed by key-hole surgery, compared to 14% nationally, with 0% mortality and a low complication rate. There has also not been a need to convert from the key hole to the larger open surgery method during the procedure. There have been three international presentations on the VATS service provided by NNUH.

Mr Bartosik, Thoracic Surgical Consultant at NNUH, said: “This procedure is still quite new in the UK and not offered routinely in many Thoracic centres, so it’s brilliant news that this is an option for patients with certain types of lung cancers or other localised lung diseases who live in Norfolk and Suffolk. With the traditional surgery you have to make a large incision in the patient’s side and then spread two ribs apart to gain access to the chest; this can obviously be very painful for the patient. The key-hole technique only requires two to three incisions because we use a tiny camera which is hooked up to the screen, so we can see inside the chest clearly without needing to spread the ribs. Patients used to have to stay in hospital for a week or more after surgery and now they could be home within four days after VATS, which is fantastic.”

David Waller, from Holt, recently had the procedure and said: “I’d recommend anyone to have it done if they needed it; Mr Bartosik is a very good surgeon, always there to talk to and I couldn’t have wished for better. Having the keyhole surgery meant I was more active, more quickly and I’ve already been back cutting my lawns easily. We are very lucky to have this excellent service in Norfolk.”

Mr Bartosik is also the surgeon on the Multi-Disciplinary Team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn (QEHLK). Jules Barfoot, Lung Cancer Cancer Nurse Specialist at QEHKL said: “Mr Bartosik provides us with an excellent service and our resection rate at QEH is testament to that.”

Thursday 8th of May 2014 12:00:23 PM