Background: While isolating the pulmonary arterial branches within the fissure is a crucial step in lobectomy, a largely fused fissure usually hinders its achievement, making lobectomy with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) difficult to achieve. For VATS lobectomy in lung cancer patients with a largely fused fissure, we have conducted an unusual approach for each lobe, and the surgical results were compared between patients with and without a fused fissure.
Methods: Since1999, we have conducted VATS lobectomies in 77 patients. Of these, 10 had largely fused fissures that needed an unusual surgical approach for dividing the pulmonary arterial branches. The other 67 patients had separated fissures that allowed the isolation and division of the arterial branches within it. While the surgical approach used for the patients with largely fused fissures differed in each lobe, most often the lobar bronchus was divided before pulmonary arterial branches within the fissure were divided, with the fused fissure being divided last.
Results: There were no significant differences in age, lobectomy site, or tumor stage between the patients with fused fissures and those with separated fissures. The surgical data showed no significant differences between the two groups in operating time, blood loss, duration of chest tube drainage, and hospital stay after surgery. However, the patients with fused fissures required more staples to close the incision than did those with a separated fissure (mean number of staples, 7.7 vs 5.7; p < 0.001). There was no postoperative mortality or morbidity, including prolonged air leakage, in the patients with fused fissures.
Conclusion: Although the performance of VATS lobectomy for patients with largely fused fissures is more costly, it is feasible and safe. A largely fused fissure is not a limiting factor for the performance of VATS lobectomy.