A standard muscle-sparing utility thoracotomy for VATS procedures

L. Spaggiari, P. Carbognani, P. Solli, M. Rusca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backgrounds. Improvements in surgical equipment have rendered video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) an effective device for thoracic surgeons and nowadays several intrathoracic diseases can benefit from this approach. This development has expanded potential use and recently the technical feasibility of major lung resections by VATS has been demonstrated. The authors present their experience with a standard muscle-sparing utility thoracotomy (UT) utilized for all VATS procedures, including major lung resections. Methods. From November 1996 to October 1997, 30 patients were operated on. There were 22 males and 8 females (medium age 58 years; range 24-78). There were 13 anatomical lung resections (i.e.: 11 lobectomies, 1 left pneumonectomy, 1 segmental resection), 8 wedge resections, 3 lung biopsies, 2 debridements of pleural empyema, 2 mediastinal nodes biopsies, 1 esophageal resection for leiomyoma, 1 excision of benign mediastinal cyst. Results. No mortality or major morbidity were recorded, as well as no rib fractures due to the rib spreader. Two patients suffered from prolonged air-leaks after respectively left upper lobectomy and lung biopsy and required prolonged chest drainage. Concerning anatomic major lung resections the medium hospital stay was 7.9 days and medium chest tube time was 5.6 days. The utility thoracotomy through the auscultatory triangle proved to be a safe approach and confirmed the technical feasibility of various type of surgical procedures with results comparable to standard open thoracotomy. Our data shows that VATS approach did not seriously affect the duration of hospital stay, chest tube time, the overall morbidity of lung function. Conclusions. As the real benefit of this approach remains controversial the majority of the studies comparing the VATS approach to conventional muscle-sparing thoracotomy neither nor prospective nor randomized, and several parameters are difficult to evaluate in the literature further study are mandatory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-601
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


  • Surgical procedures, endoscopic
  • Thoracics surgical, procedures
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Thoracotomy methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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