Objective: To assess the efficacy and the safety of a single-trocar technique for minimally invasive surgery of the chest in the management of multiple noncomplex thoracic diseases, a prospective study was performed and the results are presented.
Methods: Between October 1998 and December 2001, 100 patients underwent video-assisted thoracic surgery through a single trocar. The patients were divided into 4 groups as follows: (1) benign, (2) malignant, (3) pleural effusion, and (4) empyema. The following data were analyzed: age, sex, forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, percentage of the predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second, type of anesthesia, anesthesia time, surgery time, intraoperative complications, morbidity, chest tube removal, hospital stay, and follow-up.
Results: The patient population consisted of 64 men and 36 women with a mean age of 62 years (range 31-92 years). General anesthesia was used in 53 patients (25 double-lumen and 28 single-lumen tube) and local anesthesia and sedation in 47 patients. Talc pleurodesis was performed in 55 patients. Mean operative time was 65 +/- 37 minutes, 48 +/- 18 minutes for simple and 67 +/- 37 minutes (P =.004) for complex pleural effusion. Mean anesthesia time was 102 +/- 85 minutes. Chest tubes were removed after 5 +/- 2 days. Mean overall hospital stay was 6 +/- 3 days, 5 +/- 2 days for benign diseases, 7 +/- 3 days for malignant diseases, and 8 +/- 3 for empyema. Morbidity was present in 19 patients. Two patients had intraoperative bleeding; 1 required a mini-thoracotomy to control it. There was no hospital mortality. Three patients had wound infection, and no patient with malignant diseases had port site metastasis.
Conclusion: Video-assisted thoracic surgery through a single trocar is simple, effective, and beneficial for all patients in the diagnosis and treatment of noncomplex diseases of the chest. Furthermore, with this newest type of technologically advanced instrumentation it is possible to carry out simple intrathoracic procedures without using additional ports.