Intraoperative ultrasound during thoracoscopic procedures for solitary pulmonary nodules

Roberto Santambrogio, Marco Montorsi, Paolo Bianchi, Angelo Mantovani, Filippo Ghelma, Maurizio Mezzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Traditional nonoperative diagnostic approaches to the solitary pulmonary nodule (bronchoscopy and percutaneous needle biopsy) can be inconclusive. Video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) provides a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat these nodules. We evaluated the use of a dedicated intraoperative ultrasound probe as an aid in localization of small pulmonary nodules during VATS.Methods. An intraoperative ultrasound examination during a thoracoscopic procedure was performed on 18 patients to localize deep pulmonary nodules less than 20 mm in diameter without a definitive diagnosis by preoperative imaging techniques.Results. In the 18 patients, all nodules were successfully identified by intraoperative ultrasound. A definitive pathologic diagnosis was obtained from thoracoscopic biopsy or resection. The final diagnoses were primary lung cancer in 5 patients, metastatic lesions in 4 patients, hamartoma or chondroma in 4, granuloma in 3, and interstitial fibrosis in 2 patients.Conclusions. In our experience, intraoperative ultrasound can safely and effectively localize invisible or nonpalpable pulmonary nodules at the time of thoracoscopy. This may help surgeons perform minimally invasive lung resections with clear surgical margins. Copyright (C) 1999 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-222
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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