Thoracoscopic wedge resection and segmentectomy for small-sized pulmonary nodules
With the recent increase in the detection of small-sized lung nodules because of the widespread use of computed tomography (CT), limited resection and minimally invasive surgery are preferred by patients with these lesions. In particular, the detection of nodules that show ground-glass opacity during high-resolution CT has increased. Although lobectomy and lymph node dissection were the standard procedures used for treating lung cancer, limited wedge resection and segmentectomy have become acceptable for treating small-sized lung cancers with nodules showing ground-glass opacity. These limited procedures are widely performed, especially because they can be accomplished thoracoscopically. Furthermore, not only simple segmentectomy but also complex segmentectomy and subsegmentectomy can be performed using three-dimensional (3D)-CT to achieve sufficient resection based on tumor size. There are, however, technical difficulties in thoracoscopic wedge resection and segmentectomy. While it may be curative for small-sized lung nodules, it is sometimes difficult to correctly perform wedge resection when the tumor is not identified intraoperatively. In such cases, we usually perform tumor marking before operating. However, serious complications, such as cerebral air embolism, have been reported. Further, although it can sufficiently resect small-sized lung nodules, segmentectomy is more technically complex than wedge resection. Therefore, we have developed methods to overcome these technical difficulties. By using a hookwire method in a hybrid operating room and 3D-CT simulation for each wedge resection and segmentectomy, we have obtained good outcomes. Limited resection individualized for each patient will continue to evolve with applications such as CT.