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Suggested lead: A new procedure for lung surgery shows promise in getting patients back on their feet faster than ever. Tom Britt has more.

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Surgeons at several locations around the country are reporting remarkable success with a new procedure that leaves a smaller scar, causes less damage and helps speed recovery for lung cancer patients. The procedure is called ‘thorascopy.’ It requires only a small, 4.5 centimeter incision — roughly two inches. Through this tiny incision, surgeons can remove an entire lobe of the patient’s lung. Duke University Medical Center thoracic surgeon Dr. Thomas D’Amico says surgeons no longer need to cut across muscle and spread or break the patient’s ribs to remove the lung.

“The potential advantages are earlier discharge from the hospital, less overall post-operative pain, less requirement for narcotics to treat the pain, earlier return to physical activity and the potential for an overall superior result based on the fact that it’s less stress to the patients.”

D’Amico says the new procedure allows patients to go home only a couple of days after surgery, while traditional methods require a hospital stay of seven to 10 days. I’m Tom Britt.

D’Amico says lung cancer patients of any age or overall health could be candidates for the new procedure, as long as their cancer has not spread to other areas of the body.

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“The smaller the tumor the better, but with improvement in screening techniques, more and more patients are going to come in at an earlier stage and are going to be candidates for this minimally invasive approach.”