VATS Biportal Left Pneumonectomy

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posted on 2019-09-25, 17:11 authored by Luigi Gaetano Andriolo, Camillo Lopez, Gaetano Di Rienzo

Pneumonectomy is defined as the removal of the entire lung. This surgical procedure can be performed intrapericardially or extrapericardially and is associated with the radical dissection of the mediastinal lymph node without the resection of the mediastinal chest wall or the diaphragm. Pneumonectomy remains the main surgical choice for managing locally advanced lung cancer that cannot be treated using other anatomic lung resections like lobectomy or parenchyma-sparing procedures such as sleeve resection. The first successful pneumonectomy for cancer was performed by Evarts Graham in 1933 (1). In recent years, pneumonectomy has been performed for 10% of major lung resections. Despite improvements in surgical techniques and perioperative medical care, pneumonectomy is often associated with high perioperative morbidity and mortality (2–5).

The video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) approach used to perform lobectomy is widely accepted as a superior alternative to open thoracotomy. This is due to the following benefits: less postoperative pain, lower surgical morbidity, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, and lower costs (6, 7). Video-assisted thoracoscopic pneumonectomy was first described by Walker in 1994 (8). After that, few reports of thoracoscopic pneumonectomy were published because the VATS approach is associated with technical difficulties (9–11). The purpose of this video is to show the authors’ experience performing a left pneumonectomy using the biportal VATS approach.


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