Impact of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery on benign resections for solitary pulmonary nodules

Elbert Kuo, Ankit Bharat, Nicholas Bontumasi, Czarina Sanchez, Jennifer Bell Zoole, G. Alexander Patterson, Bryan F. Meyers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Differentiating benign from malignant pulmonary lesions is an important part of surgical decision making. We reviewed our experience of resecting suspicious pulmonary nodules to test the hypothesis that the increased use of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) has increased the resection rate of benign lesions. A retrospective analysis was carried out on 3,217 patients who underwent resection for focal pulmonary lesions between 1995 and 2009. Resection method, computed tomography (CT) results, positron emission tomography (PET) results, and operative and pathology reports were reviewed. Pulmonary resection was by thoracotomy/median sternotomy in 2,632 of 3,217 (82%) patients and by VATS in 585 of 3,217 (18%). Resections performed by VATS increased from 129 of 2,150 (6%) between 1995 and 2005 to 453 of 1,067 (42.4%) between 2006 and 2009. From 2006 to 2009, 31.4% of lobectomies and 63.9% of wedge resections were performed by VATS. Benign lesions were found in 350 of 3,217 (10.8%) patients. Between 1995 and 2005 our resection rate of benign lesions was 192 of 2,150 (8.9%). From 2006 to 2009, it increased to 158 of 1,067 (14.8%), of which 85 of 456 (20.8%) were VATS and 63 of 611(10.3%) were open procedures. The benign lesion resection rate was 91 of 237 (38.3%) for VATS wedges, 49 of 134 (36.6%) for open wedges, 4 of 219 (1.8%) for VATS lobectomies, and 14 of 477 (2.9%) for open lobectomies. 257 of 456 (52.0%) of the VATS resections were wedges compared with 134 of 611 (21.9%) of the open procedures. There has been an increase in pulmonary resections performed by VATS. This is associated with an increase in benign lesion resections. The benign lesion resection rate for VATS was twice that of the open procedure rate. However the benign lesion resection rates for wedge resections and lobectomies were not significantly different in regard to approach. VATS has led to an increase in our overall benign lesion resection rate, which can be explained by the increased number of VATS wedge resections that are being performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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