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Hospital’s thoracic surgeon using UK’s first lung laser

Mr George Ladas

13 September 2010

 

Following two years of research, training and preparation, Royal Brompton Hospital’s thoracic surgeon Mr George Ladas is successfully using the UK’s first lung laser, a specialist piece of surgical equipment for removing secondary lung tumours.

 

The technology employs a powerful laser beam to remove tumours from patients’ lungs, significantly improving their chances of survival and reducing their time under general anaesthetic. Operating time for patients undergoing lung metastasectomies can be reduced by half due to the lung laser’s accuracy and power concentration, which is 70,000 watts of energy per sq cm, generating heat of 700°C.

 

Mr Ladas, who regularly operates on multiple secondary tumours in the lung after cancer has spread from other parts of the body, said: ‘When you deal with secondary tumours it is usual for a patient to have ten or more in each lung. The task is to remove them while saving as much of the healthy lung as possible.’

 

'When the laser light beam is applied to tumour tissue this turns into smoke and gas and disappears completely. It also seals the area so that I don’t have to tie off each vessel and airway as I did before.'

 

The machine works by transmitting a beam down a flexible glass cylinder covered in a plastic sheath. At the tip of the cylinder is a pen-like device that Mr Ladas holds in his hand enabling him to position the laser exactly where he wants it.

 

‘It makes the operation much quicker, and recovery is very fast.’

 

Mr Ladas has already completed 45 procedures, three on primary tumours, with excellent results.

 

The lung laser theatre opened at Royal Brompton Hospital on 7 June 2010. It is named after Jack Portnoi, one of Mr Ladas’s patients, whose family generously donated the funds to secure the £120,000 instrument.

 

For more information about the lung laser, read our press release

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