Uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery in hemothorax
The management of hemothorax (spontaneous or, more often, due to thoracic trauma lesions), follows basic tenets well-respected by cardiothoracic surgeons. In most, a non-operative approach is adequate and safe, with a defined group of patients requiring only tube thoracostomy. Only a minority of patients need a surgical intervention due to retained hemothorax, persistent bleeding or incoming complications, as pleural empyema or entrapped lung. In the early 1990s, the rapid technological developments determined an increase of diagnostic and therapeutical indications for multiport video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) as the gold standard therapy for retained and persistent hemothorax, allowing an earlier diagnosis, total clots removal and better tubes placement with less morbidity, reduced post-operative pain and shorter hospital stay. There is no consensus in the literature regarding the timing for draining hemothorax, but best results are obtained when the drainage is performed within the first 5 days after the onset. The traditional multi-port approach has evolved in the last years into an uniportal approach that mimics open surgical vantage points utilizing a non-rib-spreading single small incision. Currently, in experienced hands, this technique is used for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions as hemothorax evacuation as like as the more complex procedures, such as lobectomies or bronchial sleeve and vascular reconstructions.