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Ann Surg. 2000 Aug;232(2):187-90.

Thoracoscopic removal of intrathoracic neurogenic tumors: a combined Chinese experience.

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Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Department of Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, Taiwan.



To review the surgical and clinical results of minimally invasive resection of intrathoracic neurogenic tumors using a video-assisted thoracoscopic technique.


Thoracoscopy has emerged as a possible means for diagnosing and managing various intrathoracic disorders. Benign intrathoracic tumors often are ideal lesions for resection using a video-assisted technique. The authors report on their combined experience with the thoracoscopic resection of 143 intrathoracic neurogenic tumors.


Between March 1992 and February 1999, 143 patients with intrathoracic neurogenic tumors were diagnosed and underwent resection using video-assisted thoracoscopic techniques in three teaching centers. Case selection, surgical technique, and clinical results were reviewed.


The average age of the patients was 40.8 years; 57.3% were male. Thirty-eight patients (27%) had symptoms attributable to the masses. Seventy-two masses were neurofibromas, 33 were neurilemmomas, 7 were paragangliomas, and 31 were ganglioneuromas. All but seven tumors were located in the posterior mediastinum. The masses were on average 3.5 cm in greatest diameter. The mean surgical time was 40 minutes, and the average hospital stay was 4.1 days. There were no major postoperative complications or recurrences to date. Nine patients reported paresthesias over the chest wall during a mean follow-up of 29 months.


Resection of intrathoracic neurogenic tumors using a thoracoscopic technique based on standard surgical indications would seem to be appropriate. Most of these masses are benign and readily removed. For dumbbell tumors, a combined thoracic and neurosurgical approach is mandatory.

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