The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has awarded Rush University Medical Center’s Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery with a three-star lobectomy rating for their surgical lung cancer removal technique.
Lobectomy is the surgical removal of an anatomic part of the lung in order to excise cancer, which is the most common type of operation in lung cancer cases.
The three-star program for lobectomy from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons is the highest rating granted by the society, and the Rush Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery is now among the only five percent of thoracic surgery programs in the country that received the honor. “Our three-star rating firmly establishes the lung cancer surgery program at Rush as one of the best in the nation,” said the chairperson of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at Rush, Michael Liptay, MD, in a press release.
The designation is based on the society’s ratings, which are a result of data outcomes presented by Rush for its surgeries conducted between July 2011 and June 2014. The surgical removal of localized tumors in the lungs is the most secure way of curing lung cancer, currently among the deadliest cancer type in both male and female patients.
Rush demonstrated that their thoracic surgeons currently conduct the largest number of lobectomies when compared to any other surgical group in the region of Chicago, using primarily minimally invasive methods that are able to accelerate patients’ recovery. The department conducted almost 900 lung surgeries between July 2011 and June 2014, reporting a 0.3 percent mortality rate 30 days after the lobectomies as well as an average of hospitalization of 4.2 days following surgery.
The registered rates surpass the national average, which may be related to novel techniques implemented at Rush University. The department uses video-assisted thorascopic surgery (VATS) in 74 percent of all stage one lung cancer surgical cases, a minimally invasive procedure able to decrease both pain and time of recovery when compared to open chest surgeries.
Given the high mortality rates related to lung cancer, lobectomy often offers the preferable choice to remove all the tumor. Its efficacy has been recently evaluated by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, who found that removing the entire lobe of the lung can provide patients with early-stage lung cancer a better overall survival when compared with partial resection. However, they believe that there are cases in which stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) can be as efficient as a lobectomy to provide a survival benefit.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons distinguishes excellence in the field of thoracic surgery while improving patients’ outcomes. The society has also established a collaboration with The European Society of Thoracic Surgery (ESTS), focused on improving the quality of patient care by joining general thoracic surgery databases. Based on the best clinical evidence, this collaboration aims to overcome current discrepancies in existing terminology and definitions in order to facilitate future endeavors.