Videothoracoscopic excision of mediastinal masses: Indications and technique

Giancarlo Roviaro, Carlo Rebuffat, Federico Varoli, Contardo Vergani, Marco Maciocco, Silvio Marco Scalambra

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Mediastinal masses are generally excised through wide thoracotomies or median sternotomies. These lesions are often benign, usually asymptomatic, discovered incidentally, and relatively easy to resect. For these reasons, a minimally invasive approach is appropriate. Videothoracoscopy allows an optimal exploration of the pleural cavity and a panoramic view of the mass. Dissection is usually easy to perform, and the mass can be extracted from the thorax through a trocar incision or through a limited "utility thoracotomy." To avoid possible tumor seeding, the mass is inserted in a plastic bag before extraction. From September 1991 to January 30, 1994, 20 mediastinal masses (6 thymomas, 2 thymic cysts, 1 hyperplastic thymus, 1 fibrous tumor of the mediastinum, 2 pleuropericardial cysts, 2 thoracic teratomas, 2 large thoracic lipomas, 3 neurogenic tumors, and 1 bronchogenic cyst) were removed through such a minimally invasive approach. Eighteen patients had an uneventful postoperative course. Two patients hemorrhaged in the immediate postoperative period, and repeat thoracoscopy was done. In 1 patient, electrocoagulation of a bleeding intercostal artery controlled the hemorrhage. In the other, the source of bleeding could not be found, and removal of the clots and irrigation of the cavity stopped the hemorrhage. Further data and long-term follow-up are necessary, but videothoracoscopy offers a new, less invasive approach for the management of noninvasive mediastinal masses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1683
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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