Analysis of the unplanned reoperation following surgical treatment of pulmonary tumor

J Cardiothorac Surg. 2022 Dec 12;17(1):306. doi: 10.1186/s13019-022-02064-6.


Background: In this study, we aimed to summarize the extremely important lesson and experience in the whole process of surgical treatments of lung tumors for the benefit of steps taken to prevent against unplanned reoperation.

Methods: Demographical and clinical information of 7732 patients were retrospectively retrieved and reviewed, who were diagnosed with pulmonary tumor and underwent surgical treatments from January 2016 to March 2021. Those patients who underwent unplanned reoperation for the treatment of severe complications were focused carefully and analyzed meticulously.

Results: A total of forty-one patients (41/7732) received 44 unplanned reoperations. Among them, eight and thirty-three patients were diagnosed with benign and malignant tumor, respectively. The incidence of unplanned reoperations seemed to be similar on both sides (Left vs. Right: 12/3231 vs. 29/4501, p = 0.103). Lobectomy plus segmentectomy is prone to reoperation (2/16, 12.5%) as compared to the other types of surgery. The complications leading to reoperation was hemothorax, including active hemorrhage (23/44, 52.3%) and clotted hemothorax (6/44, 13.6%), chylothorax (8/44, 18.2%), and the others (7/44, 15.9%) including bronchopleural fistula, torsion, or injury of right middle bronchus and pulmonary bulla rupture. The morbidity and mortality after unplanned reoperation were 17.1% (7/41) and 12.2% (5/41), respectively.

Conclusions: Bronchi or vessel stumps, the surgical edges of the lung parenchyma, and pleural adhesions should be checked to avoid postoperative bleeding. Prophylactic ligation of the thoracic duct should be recommended in case of the suspected oily-like exudation in the lymph node bed. Smooth expansion of the middle lobe is important to avoid narrowing and torsion before transection of the bronchus.

Keywords: Complications; Pulmonary tumor; Reoperation; Thoracic surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms* / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Pleural Diseases* / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies