Background: Controversy about operative morbidity and oncologic value of bilobectomy has led to a review of our experience over the past 12 years.
Methods: The charts of 112 patients (100 men and 12 women with a mean age of 63 years) were reviewed for operative mortality and morbidity and long-term survival. Survival of patients with stage I or stage II disease was compared with that of stage-matched and age-matched groups having right pneumonectomy.
Results: Four patients (3.5%) died postoperatively. Nonfatal complications occurred in 55 patients (49%); the most frequent problem was pleural space disease (34%). Survival studies focused on the 96 patients with nonsmall cell bronchogenic cancer (44 in stage I, 32 in stage II, and 20 in stage IIIA). The overall 5-year survival rate was 40%; the 5-year survival rate was similar for stage I and stage II (41% for stage I, 50% for stage II, and 17% for stage IIIA). The incidence of local recurrence was significantly increased after bilobectomy for stage I cancer (chi 2 = 5.066; p < 0.05) compared with pneumonectomy but did not affect 5-year survival. Local recurrence and survival were similar after bilobectomy and pneumonectomy in stage II.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate an increased morbidity after bilobectomy. Survival studies demonstrate an increased risk of local recurrence in patients with stage I disease, which might be partly explained by understaging.