Computed Tomography-Guided Percutaneous Radiotracer Localization and Resection of Indistinct/Small Pulmonary Lesions

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Background: Detection of small pulmonary lesions has increased, and often they are difficult to localize and resect. We present our mature experience with preoperative computer tomography-guided radiotracer localization, followed by resection of these lesions. Methods: Patients with pulmonary nodule smaller than 1 cm or deep below the visceral pleura underwent computer tomography-guided injection of radiotracer technetium macroaggregates in or close to the lesion. A gamma probe was used to localize the marked area that was resected, and in case of primary lung cancer a lobectomy with nodal dissection was performed. Results: Between November 2007 and December 2017, 262 patients (196 men; median age 63 years) underwent preoperative radiotracer injection with a successful marking in all patients. Complications included 35 asymptomatic pneumothoraxes (13.4%), 36 parenchymal hemorrhage suffusions (13.7%), and 2 mild allergic reactions to contrast medium (0.7%). In all cases, except for 3, the gamma probe revealed the pulmonary lesion. Mean distance from the pleura was 10 mm (range, 0 to 40 mm). Pulmonary resection was performed by thoracoscopy in 212 cases (80.9%), intentional thoracotomy in 42 (16.0%), and converted thoracoscopy in 8 (3.1%). Mean pathologic nodule size was 9.3 mm (range, 2.5 to 39 mm). One hundred sixty-six nodules (63.4%) were nonsolid, 64 (24.4%) were partially solid, and 32 (12.2%) had a solid morphologic characteristic. Histologic examination showed 16 benign (6.1%) and 246 malignant (93.9%) lesions (218 primary lung cancers). Conclusions: Preoperative radiotracer localization of small or indistinct pulmonary lesions is simple and feasible with a high rate of success. It may be an effective and attractive alternative in managing lung lesions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-858
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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