Drs. Burfeind and Puc using advanced technology
to surgically treat conditions of the chest.
Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS)
St. Luke's physicians performed the first EBUS procedure in the Lehigh Valley area in the summer of 2008. This innovative technology allows the surgeons to biopsy certain lymph nodes in the chest which normally would require an open procedure. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.
Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS)
This term refers to a minimally invasive approach to surgery within the chest. A variety of procedures can be performed using this approach. The thoracic surgeons perform a majority of their procedures with this technique. A VATS procedure avoids spreading the ribs which can contribute to a major portion of the post-operative pain issues. The majority of the lobectomies at St. Luke's are performed with a VATS approach which helps to decrease the hospital length of stay and the amount of post-operative pain.
Thymectomy for Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is a neuromuscular disease caused by your body's own antibodies attacking itself. Patients present with muscle weakness fatigue and commonly experience double vision. It is generally thought that the thymus gland plays an integral part of the disease process. Therefore, one of the treatment options for myasthenia gravis is surgical removal of the thymus. Most myasthenia patients experience improvement in their symptoms after thymectomy. At St. Luke's, the thoracic surgeons can offer a transcervical approach to removing the thymus gland. The advantages of this technique include a more cosmetic result since it avoids a complete sternotomy incision and it has a short post-operative hospital course (often going home the same day as surgery). It also allows patients to return earlier to unrestricted activity.
Thymoma is the most common tumor that originates from the thymus gland. It is generally a low-grade malignancy that is treated very effectively with surgical resection. Some of these tumors can be approached with a transcervical approach or otherwise require a sternotomy for adequate resection. Some large or advanced thymomas require a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. A consultation with a St. Luke's thoracic surgeon will determine the best approach for your particular case.