All News & Blogs
Now at Mary Washington Hospital: lung surgery through small incisions
A CT scan of a Anita Froggatt's lung shows a mass
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
The stapler looks like a caulking gun, with a long snout and an angry set of teeth. When Sherwood placed a vessel in its mouth and pulled the trigger, it cut the vessel and sealed the ends with six lines of staples.
A misfire, he said, would be an emergency, with blood spilling into the chest.
But the stapler worked perfectly. Sherwood cut and sealed the vein, and with it out of the way, he could see two of the pulmonary arteries, like white threads, beneath it.
He sealed those arteries, then the windpipe and a third artery.Cut to close
"Fifteen millimeters," he said to Bowmar, the scrub tech at the table.
He had separated the lobe and was ready to remove it. He wanted the larger of the two retrieval bags that Bowmar had.
The bag had a long handle and looked like the net used to catch a fish in an aquarium.
Sherwood folded it, then pushed it into the chest. With his other hand, he used a grasper to coax the lobe into the bag.
Soon the lobe and 20 nodes that he had plucked from the chest were sealed in paper cups for shipment to the lab. If the mass is cancer, the nodes will show how far it had traveled.
To finish, Sherwood removed his tools and sewed shut the incisions. He left a drainage tube inside Froggatt and two thin catheters to deliver pain medication. They would come out later. It was 11 a.m.
From "cut to close" was 21/2 hours, he said.
Outside, Sherwood found Warren Froggatt, Anita's husband, to tell him that the operation had gone so well that he was sending Anita to the recovery room, rather than to intensive care.
"Everything came out without difficulty," Sherwood said. "There was clearly a mass there we could see in the lobe of the lung. I don't know what it is yet. We sent a little piece of it off for culture."
Froggatt spent one night in the hospital and left the next afternoon. On Friday at her home, she said she was tired and sore.
She wondered if she had been too active Thursday, when she took her first shower and walked to the mailbox with her husband.
"I don't feel too bad," she said.
She still had not heard from the lab. She's betting that the mass was from a fungus she picked up while living in Arizona.Jim Hall: 540/374-5433