The impact of surgical chest wall damage caused by classic thoracotomy on pulmonary function and morphology

Nobuyuki Yoshiyasu, Fumitsugu Kojima, Osamu Takahashi, Yuya Ishikawa, Toru Bando
General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2020, 68 (5): 508-515

OBJECTIVES: Postoperative changes in pulmonary function (PF) and morphology due to surgical chest wall damage by thoracotomy with rib resection are unclear. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of surgical damage on PF and morphology at > 6 months postoperatively by comparing different lung lobectomy approaches.

METHODS: A total of 140 patients who underwent lobectomy for lung diseases between January 2006 and March 2016 were analyzed. Patients who underwent PF tests and computed tomography (CT) scans preoperatively and postoperatively were divided into posterolateral thoracotomy with one rib resection (PT) group and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) group. A 1:1 propensity score-matched (PSM) analysis was used to balance clinically important confounders between the groups. Regarding morphology, lung volume was measured semi-automatically using image analysis software and reconstructed three-dimensional (3D) images.

RESULTS: After PSM, 31 patients in each group were compared. Perioperative reduction ratios in forced vital capacity (FVC) (- 23% vs. - 13%; P = 0.006) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) (- 19% vs. - 12%; P = 0.02) were significantly larger for the PT group. No significant differences in lung volume values based on 3D CT volumetry (PT vs. VATS; total lung volume: - 7.9% vs. - 7.2%, P = 0.82; non-resected ipsilateral lung volume: + 36% vs. + 40%, P = 0.69; contralateral lung volume: + 9.3% vs. + 9.4%, P = 0.98) were found in either group.

CONCLUSIONS: Among the patients underwent lobectomy, classic thoracotomy decreased PF by an additional FVC loss of 10% and FEV1 loss of 7% compared with VATS, without affecting residual lung volume.

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