Patient to Patient: Laser Lung Surgery                      April 2006
A very informal on-line site created for those interested in pursuing laser lung surgery performed by Dr. Axel Rolle, Chief of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery in Coswig, Germany.  Contact information, procedure fees, travel / lodging information  as well as personal accounts from those having experienced this surgery will be covered on this site.  Again, this site was created for patient-to-patient assistance. Electing for this procedure is a decision to be made between you and your doctors. Information and statements expressed on this site do not represent those of Dr. Rolle or his affiliates from Fachkrankenhaus GMBH.     Welcome.
What is laser resection?
Patient experiences with laser surgery
Surgery expenses and payment methods
What to expect at the hospital
Lung tumors strike fear in everyone. Whether the lung be the primary site of cancer or representative of metastatic disease, removing the cancer is usually at the forefront of a patients mind.  Conventional interventions for lung tumors may involve Video-Assisted Thorascopic Surgery (VATS), Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) or a Thoracotomy. Thoracotomy poses the most risks as an incision is made into the chest wall and the lung exposed, this is a major surgery. In some circumstances a wedge resection is required which removes the tumors and with it some of the healthy lung tissue. Sometimes even complete removal of a lobe of the lung is necessary. If multiple tumors exist, even as few as six, and are dispersed throughout the lobes, most surgeons deem the patient inoperable and those patients who have failed conventional chemotherapy are left with no other option short of clinical trials when available. Or so you thought.
     It is with great excitement that I share the information of a standard surgical procedure used only in Europe that can remove multiple metastatic tumors from the lung using laser technology via open thoracotomy. Dr. Axel Rolle, Chief of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery in Coswig/Dresden, Germany, utilizes a specific laser wavelength with a special heat dispersing hand piece that has successfully enabled Rolle to remove multiple and centrally located tumors as well as select tumors up to 8 cm in size. Even the smallest of mets measuring 1 mm and not visible on CT scan can be manually palpated during this procedure and vaporized using this 1318 laser. All this while sparing healthy lung tissue, and, Rolle's lobectomy rate is 2/3 less than in the states! Dr. Rolle as with most surgeons, requires the lung be the only site of active tumor at the time of planned resection, and candidacy as well as number of mets to be removed are at the discretion of Dr. Rolle. The decision to undergo laser resection is always between you and your doctor.
     This Nd: YAG 1318 laser has been used in Europe as standard procedure in lung metastasectomy for the past 10 years. Dr. Rolle et al published statistics that demonstrate in some cancers up to a 41% survival rate at 5-years in patients having had complete resection of both bilateral and/or multiple tumors with an average of 8 mets per patient. This technology may one day be FDA approved in the states but as we well know, that process takes years and is in its early stages.  For now, US hospitals and surgeons will continue their aproach of multiple metastasectomy in the usual fashion of VATS or Thoracotomy with wedge resection or stapling. It is important to discuss the projected amount of tissue loss with your surgeon before opting for any surgical interventions.        
     Please take some time in exploring the information on this site. It is my hope to provide you with a comprehensive list of information and links to assist in your event preparation for surgical intervention of lung mets.

All my best,
Kim O-C 
WA State
Leiomyosarcoma Survivor
Publications and abstracts on this laser technology
How to contact Dr. Rolle
Ground Transportation
Air travel
Contact the page owner