In this month’s issue of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Dr. Gaetano Rocco and his colleagues at the National Cancer Institute, Pascale Foundation in Naples, Italy reported their findings on ten year’s worth of single-port surgery in their institution.
Who: 644 patients; (334 males, 310 females)
What: Outcomes and experiences in single port thoracic surgery over a ten-year period. All procedures performed by a single surgeon at this institution, and single-port VATS accounted for 27.7% of all surgeries performed during this time period.
When: data collected on thoracic surgery patients from January 2000 – December 2010.
Pre-operative CT scan was used for incision placement planning. Incision was up to 2.5 cm (1 inch) in length depending on indications for surgery.
Since manual palpation of non-visible nodules is not possible using this technique, an ultrasound probe was used to identify these lesions.
Mean operating time was 18 minutes (diagnostic VATS) and 22 minutes for wedge resections.
30 day Mortality: 0.6% (4 patients – all who presented with malignant effusions).
Major Morbidity: 2.8%
Persistent drainage requiring re-do talc pleurodesis: 13 patients
Prolonged airleak (more than 5 days): 13 patients
Atrial fibrillation: 4 patients
Pancreatitis: 1 patient
Conversion rate: 3.7% (overall)
Conversion rate to 2 or 3 port VATS: 2.2% (14 patients)
Conversion to mini-thoracotomy: 1.5% (10 patients)
Patients underwent conversion due to incomplete lung collapse (22 patients) and bleeding (2 patients).
There were no re-operations or “take backs”. The four patients with malignant effusions who died within the 30 day post-op period were re-admitted to the ICU.
Otherwise, all patients were admitted to either the floor or the step-down unit following surgery.
Pain management: post-operative pain was managed with a non-narcotic regimen consisting of a 24 hour IV infusion pump of ketorolac (20mg) and tramadol (100mg*). After the first 24 hours, patients were managed with oral analgesics such as paracetamol (acetaminophen).
Limitations: in this study, uni-port VATS was not used for major resections, as seen in the work of Dr. Diego Gonzalez and others. This may be due to the fact that uni-port VATS was an emerging technique at the initiation of this study.
Strengths: This is one of the largest studies examining the use of single-port thoracic surgery – and showed low morbidity and mortality. (Arguably, the 30 day mortality in this study was related to the patients’ underlying cancers, rather than the surgical procedure itself.)
*Intravenous tramadol is not available in the United States.
Rocco, G., Martucci, N., La Manna, C., Jones, D. R., De Luca, G., La Rocca, A., Cuomo, A. & Accardo, R. (2013). Ten years experience on 644 patients undergoing single-port (uniportal) video-assisted surgery. Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 2013, Aug, 96(2): 434-438.
Additional work by these authors on uni-port VATS: (many of these articles require subscription).
Rocco G, Martin-Ucar A, Passera E. Uniportal VATS wedge pulmonary resections. Ann Thorac Surg. 2004;77:726–728.
Rocco G. Single port video-assisted thoracic surgery (uniportal) in the routine general thoracic surgical practice. Op Tech (Society of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeons). 2009;14:326–335.
Rocco G, Khalil M, Jutley R. Uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery wedge lung biopsy in the diagnosis of interstitial lung diseases. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2005;129:947–948.
Rocco G, Brunelli A, Jutley R, et al. Uniportal VATS for mediastinal nodal diagnosis and staging. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2006;5:430–432
Rocco G, La Rocca A, La Manna C, et al. Uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery pericardial window. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006;131:921–922.
Jutley RS, Khalil MW, Rocco G . Uniportal vs standard three-port VATS technique for spontaneous pneumothorax: comparison of post-operative pain and residual paraesthesia. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg 2005;28:43-46.
Salati M, Brunelli A, Rocco G. Uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery for diagnosis and treatment of intrathoracic conditions. Thorac Surg Clin. 2008;18:305–310.
Rocco G, Cicalese M, La Manna C, La Rocca A, Martucci N, Salvi R. Ultrasonographic identification of peripheral pulmonary nodules through uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery. Ann Thorac Surg. 2011;92:1099–1101.
Rocco G, La Rocca A, Martucci N, Accardo R. Awake single-access (uniportal) video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for spontaneous pneumothorax. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2011;142:944–945.
Rocco G, Romano V, Accardo R, et al. Awake single-access (uniportal) video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for peripheral pulmonary nodules in a complete ambulatory setting. Ann Thorac Surg. 2010;89:1625–1627.
Recommended reading: Rocco G. (2012). One-port (uniportal) video assisted thoracic surgical resections – a clear advance. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg.2012;144:S27–S31.