Pioneering Technique Transforms the Life of 35-year-old Emirati Patient
A multidisciplinary team of surgeons and imaging experts at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has developed a new, minimally invasive procedure to locate and cut out a tumor hidden deep inside a patient’s lung.
The technique was developed by Dr. Redha Souilamas, Chair of Thoracic Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Heart & Vascular Institute, and is believed to be a world first because it used ultrasound imaging to perform the surgery “in vivo”, or inside the patient.
For the 35-year-old Emirati male patient, this innovative approach ensured he did not have to undergo traditional open surgery to remove the tumor, which had been found while he was being treated for another condition.
Dr. Souilamas explains: “Ultrasound is very easy to use on the heart, liver and other areas, but when it is used in the lungs, the air prevents the ultrasound from taking clear images. We collapsed the lung completely and were able to see everything clearly on the screen through the small ultrasound cannula [thin tube], which meant we could locate the nodule deep in the lung, localize it and cut it out in vivo through a small incision on the left side of the patient’s chest.
“I had been thinking about how to properly deliver this type of surgery for six years. Only one other experimental clinical study had been done on humans using a similar method but it was ex vivo, done from outside the body after the lung was removed,” he added.
“We had already performed this hybrid approach using a CT scan for nodule localization and resection for peripheral nodules, but when the nodule is deep in the lung, ultrasound is more effective.”
The new, hybrid approach uses video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) to locate the tumor and remove it. This type of procedure means less pain for the patient, as well as a shorter hospital stay and recovery time compared with traditional surgery.
The tumor removal, known as a lung nodule hybrid management with intrathoracic ultrasound surgery, took just under two hours and the patient was discharged three days later.
Dr. Souilamas led the surgical team, which included Dr. Thomas Bartel, Section Head of Invasive Cardiology in the hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute, and Dr. Hicham Abada, Chair of Interventional Radiology in the Imaging Institute.
“Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s cutting-edge facilities and expertise have enabled us to develop this world-first procedure, which has the potential to become the standard for lung surgeries like this one. We’re proud to be able to bring this innovative therapy to the UAE, with the hope it will help lung patients here, in the region and the wider world,” he concluded.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s General Thoracic Surgery program diagnoses and treats the entire spectrum of diseases affecting the chest. The multidisciplinary team uses the latest range of innovative techniques and technologies, including many minimally invasive procedures to reduce surgical trauma and recovery times for patients.