[Minimally invasive chest surgery. Is palpation control still necessary with modern computed tomography?]
BACKGROUND: A fundamental argument against minimally invasive oncological chest surgery is the risk of overlooking pulmonary nodules due to a lack of intraoperative palpation. In the literature this risk in the treatment of primary lung cancer is given as up to 8.4 % and as more than 15 % in the surgical treatment of pulmonary metastases. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate if modern computed tomography (CT) is sensitive enough to replace intraoperative palpation and justify a minimally invasive approach. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The medical records from 92 patients who underwent 95 open lung resections due to pulmonary malignancies from April 2010 through September 2011 at the Medical School Hannover were retrospectively analysed. A comparison was carried out between the lesions detected preoperatively by CT and those removed during surgery and histologically confirmed as being malignant. Patients with more than five nodules suspected of being malignant in the preoperative CT scan were excluded. RESULTS: According to the final histopathological examination 125 malignant nodules were resected and 2 of these were not detected in the preoperative CT scan, which were performed in external hospitals with a slice thickness of 5 mm and 8 mm, respectively. This represents a sensitivity of 98 % for all CT scans in terms of detection of pulmonary nodules. With thin slice CT (slice thickness up to 1.5 mm) a sensitivity of 100 % was even achieved. CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate that a high sensitivity of thin slice CT for detection of lung nodules can be achieved. Based on these results the categorical reservation with respect to thoracoscopic resection of pulmonary metastases should be reconsidered in suitable patients where a minimally invasive resection is possible. The extent of lymph node dissection is not influenced by these data. Further studies with larger sample sizes are warranted to confirm these results.
Kruger, M.; Zinne, N.; Shin, H.; Zhang, R.; Biancosino, C.; Kropivnitskaja, I.; Langer, F.; Haverich, A.; Dettmer, S.