Table of Contents
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopy
Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 151-155

Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery in Patients With Clinically Resectable Lung Tumors

1European Cancer Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Surgery, Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3Department of Pulmonology, Free University Hospital, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4Department of Surgery, Tokyo Medical College, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160, Japan

Received 24 February 1995; Accepted 5 September 1995

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


To investigate the feasibility of thoracoscopic resection, a pilot study was performed in patients with clinically resectable lung tumors. In 40 patients, Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) was performed because of suspicion of malignancy. There were 29 men and 11 women with a median age of 54.8 years (range 18 to 78). Preoperative indications were suspected lung cancer and tumor in 27 patients, assessment of tumor resectability in 7 patients, and probability of metastatic tumors in 6 patients. The final diagnoses in the 27 patients with suspected lung cancer were 12 primary lung cancers, 6 lung metastases, and 9 benign lesions. The success rates for VATS (no conversion to thoracotomy) were 1 of 12 (8.3%) for resectable stage I lung cancer, 8 of 12 (66.7%) for metastatic tumors, and 9 of 9 (100%) for benign tumors. With VATS, 6 of 7 patients (85.7%), possible stage III non-small cell lung cancer, an explorative thoracotomy with was avoided, significantly reducing morbidity. The reasons for conversion to thoracotomy were 1) oncological (N2 lymph node dissection and prevention of tumor spillage) and 2) technical (inability to locate the nodule, central localization, no anatomical fissure, or poor lung function requiring full lung ventilation). The ultimate diagnoses were 19 lung cancers, 12 metastatic lung tumors, and 9 benign lung tumors. Our data show the limitations of VATS for malignant tumors in general use. These findings, together with the fact that experience in performing thoracoscopic procedures demonstrates a learning curve, may limit the use of thoracoscopic resection as a routine surgical procedure, especially when strict oncological rules are respected.