Video-assisted thoracoscopic major pulmonary resections: Technical aspects, personal series of 259 patients, and review of the literature

G. Roviaro, F. Varoli, C. Vergani, M. Maciocco, O. Nucca, C. Pagano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although more than 10 years have passed since the first video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomies, these procedures have not gained widespread acceptance. We discuss the technical aspects and major problems associated with these operations, focusing on their present status and future perspectives. The results of our clinical series are presented and the relevant literature is reviewed. Methods: From October 1991 to June 2003, 344 patients were submitted to surgery for an intended video major pulmonary resection. Results: Of the 344 patients, seven (2.0%) were deemed inoperable at video exploration; 78 (23.1%) required conversion, either for technical reasons (n = 3), anatomical problems (n = 49), oncological conditions (n = 20), or intraoperative complications (n = 6). We carried out 253 video-assisted lobectomies and six pneumonectomies (209 for primary lung tumor, 43 for benign disease, and seven for metastases). There were no intraoperative deaths. Two patients died postoperatively. Complications occurred in 20 patients (7.7%). Global survival at 3 and 5 years was 83.24% (±6.9) and 68.87% (±9.7), respectively. Patients with T1 N0 cancer had a better survival rate at 3 and 5 years (87.13 ± 8.3% and 75.12 ± 12.2%) than those with T2 N0 cancer (78.49 ± 11.2% and 61.2 ± 15%). Conclusions: Based on our experience and a review of the literature, we conclude that video-assisted thoracoscopic lobectomies offer less postoperative pain, a more rapid recovery, and better cosmetic results than their conventional counterpart. The results at 3- and 5-year follow-up for cancer are attractive. However, because no randomized study has yet proved these benefits definitively, further studies are still needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1551-1558
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Lobectomy
  • Lung cancer
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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