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Now at Mary Washington Hospital: lung surgery through small incisions
A CT scan of a Anita Froggatt's lung shows a mass
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BY JIM HALL
Dr. Timothy Sherwood had sliced and stapled his way through three pulmonary arteries, one pulmonary vein and an airway in Anita Froggatt's chest.
He had separated the upper lobe from the middle lobe of her right lung, and now he was ready to remove the upper lobe.
Sherwood operated on Froggatt on Tuesday at Mary Washington Hospital to help determine why she had been short of breath and coughing.
X-rays and CT scans taken months earlier revealed a white spot in the upper lung. Biopsies and blood tests that followed were inconclusive.
Medications didn't help, and Froggatt's doctors had no answers. The Spotsylvania County resident is 59. She smoked for 20 years but stopped in the 1980s.
Was the spot lung cancer? Or was it something else, perhaps damage done by fungi or bacteria?
Sherwood will eventually have the answers, but first he had to remove the suspect lobe.
A thoracic surgeon, Sherwood arrived at the Fredericksburg hospital this spring. He brought with him from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore knowledge of small-incision lung surgery.
In the past, surgeons at Mary Washington did lung surgery through 7-inch incisions in the side of the chest. Patients' ribs had to be moved, causing pain and long hospital stays.
Sherwood offered Froggatt something different. He told her he would make three small incisions in her side, insert specially designed tools between the ribs, and remove the lobe.
Sometimes, he said, he had to change his plan in the middle of surgery and open the chest. But usually, the small incisions offered enough room.
Sherwood also promised reduced pain and a shorter hospital stay with this keyhole approach. Froggatt agreed to it. She arrived at the hospital early Tuesday for her surgery.Preparing to operate
Operating room No. 12 was bright and chilly when the team wheeled Froggatt in. Mark Ivory, a nurse anesthetist, had already started an epidural in her upper back.
Soon he gave her other drugs to paralyze her and block memory and pain. Then he inserted a tube in her throat and took over her breathing.
For the next three hours, the regular beep of the pulse oximeter, combined with the music of Fergie and Bon Jovi, served as backdrop to the surgery.