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Minerva Chirurgica 1999 November;54(11):741-7

language: Italian

Video-assisted thoracic surgery in the treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax

Voltolini L., Di Bisceglie M., Cacchiarelli M., D'Agata A., Luzzi L., Ghiribelli C., Paladini P., Gotti G.


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Background. The aim of this study was to evaluate the surgical indications and the results of a series of 107 patients treated by video-assisted thoracic surgery for spontaneous pneumothorax with a minimum follow-up of 12 months.
Methods. From January 1991 to December 1997, 107 patients (86 male and 21 female patients) mean age 28 years (range 14-78), underwent VATS for treatment of spontaneous pneumothorax.
Results. Seventy-five patients had primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) and thirty-two patients had secondary spontaneous pneumothorax (SSP). Bullous area was not seen in 26 patients with PSP. Ninety-nine patients were treated with wedge stapled resection of the bullous area or of the apex (when no bullous area was seen) and some form of pleurodesis, whereas 8 patients with PSP were treated only with pleurodesis. Among these 8 patients, two presented recurrence. Two patients with PSP and 8 patients with SSP were treated by apical pleurectomy: no one developed recurrence. The other 97 were treated with elettrocoagulation of the parietal pleura. Conversion to a thoracotomy was necessary in 4 patients (12.5%) because of massive pleural adhesions. There were no postoperative deaths. A complication developed in 3 patients (4%) with PSP and in 5 patients (17.8%) with SSP, whose procedure was ended by VATS. The duration of systematic postoperative drainage was 3.8±0.9 (range 3-15 days) for the group of patients with PSP and 6±2.1 (range 4-23 days) for the group of patients with SSP. The duration of the hospital stay was 5.6±1.4 (range 4-15) and 8.4±2.3 (range 6-18) in patients with PSP and SSP respectively. Follow-up analysis revealed 2 (2.66%) ipsilateral recurrent pneumothorax in 75 patients treated for PSP. Among 26 patients with SSP, whose procedure was completed by VATS, 2 recurrences (7.7%) were observed.
Conclusions. Surgical treatment by VATS is a valid alternative to open thoracotomy in patients with PSP and will be the treatment of choice because, with increased experience of surgeons, it will yield the same results as standard operative therapy but with the advantages of the minimally invasive operation. The usefulness of VATS in patients with SSP remains to be defined.

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