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Int J Surg. 2008;6 Suppl 1:S78-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ijsu.2008.12.014. Epub 2008 Dec 13.

Peri-operative complications of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS).

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Center for Thoracic Surgery, University of Insubria, Viale Borri 57, 21100 Varese, Italy.


Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) has multiple indications for diagnosis and treatment of many different thoracic diseases; the commonest are lung wedge resection, pleural and mediastinal biopsy, treatment of pneumothorax, and pleurectomy. Moreover, in recent years a few surgeons have performed routinely major lung anatomic resections by VATS approach, including segmentectomy, lobectomy and pneumonectomy. In our experience VATS constitutes about one-third of all thoracic surgical procedures. In the reviewed literature as in the most frequent complications after VATS procedures are: prolonged air leak, bleeding, infection, postoperative pain, port site recurrence and the need to convert the access in thoracotomy. The complication and mortality rates are generally very low and VATS procedures are considered safe and effective. It is recommended that all thoracic surgery departments audit their VATS procedures for peri-operative morbidity and mortality to compare results and outcomes.

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