A large international clinical study showed that thoracoscopic lobectomy — video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) — combined with pulmonary artery sealing using an ultrasonic energy device reduced the risk of post-operative bleeding, complications and pain in lung cancer patients.
Results were presented at the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery from May 4-7, 2019 in Toronto.
Unlike surgery with thoracotomy, which involves making a 25 cm incision in the patient’s chest and cutting the ribs, a VATS procedure requires small incisions. A miniature video camera is inserted through one of the incisions. In both types of surgical interventions, there is a risk of bleeding because the branches of the pulmonary artery are very thin, fragile and are attached directly to the heart.
“Thanks to this clinical trial conducted in Canadian, American and British hospitals, we have shown that it is possible to safely seal pulmonary blood vessels through ultrasonic sealing and effectively control possible bleeding during a VATS procedure,” explained Dr Moishe Liberman, a thoracic surgeon and researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM).
Currently, only 15% of lobectomies around the world are performed by VATS, mainly because of the actual risks of major bleeding or surgeons’ perception of these risks.
“I truly hope that the results of our clinical trial will reassure surgeons about the technical feasibility and safety of this operation and will encourage them to adopt it. A large number of patients could benefit from it and would be on their feet faster, with less pain,” indicated Dr. Liberman.