Article Abstract

Uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) technique is associated with decreased narcotic usage over traditional VATS lobectomy

Authors: Scott Gregory Louis, William James Gibson, Chase Lynn King, Nirmal Kumar Veeramachaneni


Background: Uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is gaining popularity internationally, but remains an uncommon practice in the United States. One proposed benefit is a decrease in narcotic usage and peri-operative pain when compared to traditional multiple incision VATS. The purpose of this study was to determine the post-operative narcotic usage between patients undergoing anatomic lobectomy via traditional VATS as compared to patients undergoing uniportal VATS.
Methods: All consecutive patients undergoing anatomic lobectomy for presumed malignancy by a single surgeon at an academic medical institution were recorded between July 2013 and September 2015. Patients were excluded if they were narcotic dependent prior to the operation, if they had an epidural catheter placed, or if they were under 18 years of age. All narcotics were converted to oral morphine equivalents (OMEq) using standard formulas.
Results: Data were collected on 84 patients. There was no difference between groups with regard to age, gender, tumor size, length of stay, or duration of post-operative thoracostomy. The groups had a similar rate of complications including post-operative atrial fibrillation and need for prolonged thoracostomy. Patients undergoing uniportal VATS had significantly lower narcotic usage in the recovery room, and on post-operative days 1 and 2. In addition, the total narcotic usage during their inpatient stay was significantly lower for patients undergoing uniportal VATS.
Conclusions: Uniportal VATS is a safe and effective strategy for the surgical management of benign and malignant lung disease. In patients undergoing anatomic lobectomy, there was an association with significantly less post-operative narcotic usage in patients undergoing uniportal VATS when compared to traditional VATS. This emerging technology may benefit patients by allowing less narcotic usage during their post-operative hospitalization.