March 1, 2010, ST. LOUIS - While Video-Assisted Thoracic Surgeries (VATS) made its St. Louis debut in 2005 with Traves Crabtree, MD. cardiothoracic surgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Washington University School of Medicine, VATS at Barnes-Jewish will make its national debut on the Discovery Channel, which will feature Dr. Crabtree and the procedure, Saturday, March 6 at 7 a.m. on “Discovery Health CME.”
This minimally-invasive procedure can be performed in place of open chest surgeries on many patients with lung cancer, using a small thoracoscope. The thoracoscope is inserted through a small incision in the chest wall to perform a lobectomy, which is the removal of part of a lung. Two other small incisions allow access for surgical instruments.
When compared to an open chest procedure like a thoracotomy, VATS can reduce post-operative complications, pain and recovery time in many patients. Dr. Crabtree recognized the need to educate patients about what they could expect before and after a VATS procedure. After writing a draft of a script for a teaching video, Dr. Crabtree discovered that the manufacturer of the endoscopes used in VATS procedures, was also interested in developing a teaching tool.
In the early stages of that partnership, the manufacturer brought in Discovery Health to produce the patient teaching video. In addition, they produced teaching videos for physicians who wanted to learn about performing the procedure.
“When I made the script, I made sure to pass it around to several people in the operating rooms and on the inpatient units,” Dr. Crabtree says. “I’m not there minute-to-minute and wanted to know what they see, what the patients need to know. I had a lot of very important input from nurses and ancillary personnel.”
The resulting 26-minute video is given to patients during a visit to the surgeon’s office, and includes detailed information about how the patients can prepare themselves for a VATS procedure, as well as how they should care for themselves after returning home. Patients have responded well to the video as a pre-operative teaching tool.
The Discovery Channel program follows the progress of six VATS patients from diagnosis to recovery. Several of those patients were filmed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “We wanted people at different stages,” Dr. Crabtree says of the patients in the video. “They were all very cooperative and graciously allowed us to film them as they progressed through recovery.”
For more information about VATS and other cardiothoracic surgeries performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital by Washington University physicians, please visit www.barnesjewish.org or www.cardiothoracicsurgery.wustl.edu.