Multicenter VATS experience with mediastinal tumors

Todd L. Demmy*, Mark J. Krasna, Frank C. Detterbeck, Gary G. Kline, Leslie J. Kohman, Malcolm M. DeCamp, John C. Wain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background. The use of video-assisted thoracic surgery for diagnosis and treatment of mediastinal tumors in a multiinstitution patient population is not well understood. Methods. We studied 48 cases from Cancer and Leukemia Group B thoracic surgeons. Of 21 men and 27 women, aged 41 ± 16 years, 22 patients were asymptomatic. In the others, 92% of tumor-related symptoms improved or resolved after treatment. Five tumors involved the anterior compartment, 19 the middle, and 24 the posterior compartment. Diagnoses were typical for each compartment but also included uncommon problems such as superior vena cava hemangioma and a histoplasmosis cyst causing hoarseness. Of the lesions, a biopsy of 12 was done without excision and the rest were excised completely. Fifteen were cystic and 10 were malignant (8 biopsy only). Maximal dimensions were 5.2 ± 3.3 cm. Results. Operations were briefer for 24 posterior (93 ± 41 min) than 5 anterior (195 ± 46 min, p < 0.01) or 19 middle mediastinal tumors (170 ± 78 min, p < 0.01). Although 96% had vital mediastinal relations, only six open conversions were performed because of bleeding (n = 3), large size, impaired exposure, or rib attachments, and no patient had morbidity beyond that expected for the thoracotomy. Postoperative stay was shorter for the nonconversion group (3.2 ± 2.8 versus 5.5 ± 2.1 days, p = 0.05), as was chest tube duration (1.7 ± 1.4 days versus 3.2 ± 1.9 days, p = 0.03). There were no postoperative deaths or major complications, but 7 patients had minor complications. During a mean of 20 months of surveillance (range, 1 to 52 months), one cyst recurred (asymptomatic) as did one sarcoma that was excised. Conclusions. Video-assisted thoracic surgery is a safe technique for benign mediastinal tumors, typically those in the middle and posterior mediastinum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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