A team of doctors from Sewri TB Hospital have successfully performed a Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (VATS) on a tuberculosis (TB) patient for the first time in its history. Aslam Khan (name changed) a 22-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh was operated on, as there was pus gathering in the area between his lungs and the inner surface of the chest wall. By the using the VATS technique, doctors performed decortication i.e. removal of thickened pleura wrapped around the lung which was affected by TB, causing the collapse of the lung.
“This is a landmark moment in the eight decades Sewri TB Hospital’s history. We are extremely happy with this achievement. This patient now has got freedom from TB. VATS technique at Sewri TB hospital will benefit many poor TB patients. Almost 10 per cent of the patients that come up for surgery can be benefited by this procedure,” said Dr Lalitkumar Anande Chief Medical Officer of Sewri’s Tuberculosis Hospital.
Aslam Khan has been discharged from the hospital just three days after the surgery and is on his way to recovery. Before coming to Sewri TB Hospital, tube insertion into his chest to remove pus was tried three times in 20 days. Usually, the chest is cut open for a surgery to remove the infected part of the lungs and pleura and patients are discharged after about 10 to 15 days.VATS is relatively much simplified as a scope attached to a video camera is used along with specialized instruments which are introduced into the patient’s chest via small 1 to 2 cm incisions.
Dr Amol Bhanushali, Honorary Thoracic Surgeon at Sewri TB hospital who performed the surgery emphasised on awareness about surgical treatment for the TB patients and timely intervention. “Patients and even some doctors are unaware of surgical options to treat TB. Early identification of surgical options is the key to the speedy recovery of a patient, especially in the current scenario of drug-resistant TB. For many decades, surgeries for tuberculosis were being done by opening the chest and patients took 2 to 3 months to resume normal activity. Whereas by VATS the patient is discharged in three days and can resume normal activity within 2 to 3 weeks. There is need to train more specialists in VATS to give its benefits to a larger number of TB patients,” said Dr Amol Bhanushali, who has been routinely performing VATS in his private practice.
One more crucial part of the surgical procedure performed on TB patients is the expertise in anaesthesia. In this procedure, selective ventilation is done. 72 years old Dr Krishna Joshi is a Senior Anaesthesiologist and an expert in Thoracic Anaesthesia. He was the anaesthesiologist for the first ever Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery in Sewri TB Hospital. “The surgery which was performed at the Sewri TB Hospital is very unusual. Very few are trained for VATS. Lungs of TB patients are not normal. Their capacity is already reduced because of the infection. It is a challenging task to give anaesthesia in thoracic surgery. We need to train more experts who can perform this procedure,” said Dr Krishna Joshi.