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Ann Surg. 2006 Sep;244(3):420-5.

Thoracoscopic lobectomy is a safe and versatile procedure: experience with 500 consecutive patients.

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Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.



Advantages of thoracoscopic lobectomy for early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as compared with lobectomy by conventional thoracotomy, include less postoperative pain and shorter length of hospitalization. The outcomes after thoracoscopic lobectomy in patients with more complex pulmonary conditions are analyzed to determine safety, efficacy, and versatility.


A prospective database of 500 consecutive patients who underwent thoracoscopic lobectomy between June 1999 and January 2006 was queried. Demographic, histopathologic, perioperative, and outcome variables were assessed using standard descriptive statistics and Kaplan-Meier survival analyses.


Thoracoscopic lobectomy was successfully performed in 492 patients (conversion rate, 1.6%). Pathologic analysis included primary NSCLC in 416 patients (83.2%), centrally located secondary pulmonary malignancy in 37 patients (7.4%), and a variety of benign conditions in 45 patients (9%). Among the 416 patients with NSCLC, pathologic analysis demonstrated stage I in 330 patients (55.3%), stage II in 40 patients (9.6%), and stage III or greater NSCLC in 44 patients (10.6%). The operative and perioperative (30-day) mortality was 0% and 1%, respectively. The overall 2-year survival rate for the entire cohort was 80%, and the 2-year overall survival rates for stage I NSCLC, stage II or greater NSCLC, secondary pulmonary malignancy, and granulomatous disease patients were 85%, 77%, 73%, and 89%, respectively.


Thoracoscopic lobectomy is applicable to a spectrum of malignant and benign pulmonary disease and is associated with a low perioperative morbidity and mortality rate. Survival rates are comparable to those for lobectomy with thoracotomy.

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