Complete versus assisted thoracoscopic approach: a prospective randomized trial comparing a variety of video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomy techniques

N Shigemura, A Akashi, T Nakagiri, M Ohta, H Matsuda
Surgical Endoscopy 2004, 18 (10): 1492-7

BACKGROUND: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy does not represent a unified approach, but rather a spectrum of operative techniques ranging from a complete endoscopic thoracotomy to a minithoracotomy. A prospective randomized trial was conducted to compare the differences in these techniques and their results to determine the best of VATS lobectomy for lung cancer.

METHODS: This study randomized 39 consecutive patients with clinical stage I lung cancer to undergo either a complete (C-VATS, n = 20) or an assisted (A-VATS, n = 19) VATS approach for pulmonary lobectomy.

RESULTS: The operating time was longer (p = 0.002) and blood loss was less (p = 0.004) with C-VATS than with A-VATS. Although there was no significant difference in analgesic use or duration of thoracic drainage between the groups, a shorter hospitalization was observed after C-VATS. Serum peak levels of postoperative inflammatory markers (white blood cell count, C-reactive protein, creatine phosphokinase) were lower with C-VATS and an earlier return to normalization than with A-VATS.

CONCLUSION: Various differences exist among the VATS lobectomy techniques, and complete VATS lobectomy as a purely endoscopic surgery may be technically feasible and a satisfactory alternative to the conventional procedure for stage I lung cancer.

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