Video-assisted thoracic surgery and open chest surgery in lung cancer treatment: present and future

Frank Detterbeck, Laureano Molins


Surgical resection remains the most effective treatment of early stage lung cancer. The surgical approach has evolved, and now consists primarily of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and more limited incisions even with open techniques. Both approaches have their place. Many factors contribute to deciding whether one or the other is better for a particular tumor, patient and in a particular setting and region. Video assisted surgery, where appropriate, is associated with fewer complications and a shorter hospital stay, and similar long term survival. But modern open surgery is also associated with good results. This article reviews the data and discusses considerations to weigh in finding the right balance between the video-assisted and the open approaches.