Reasons for conversion during VATS lobectomy: what happens with increased experience
Although controlled studies have demonstrated the benefits of a minimally invasive approach for pulmonary lobectomy over thoracotomy, reports have also documented that significant complications can occur during thoracoscopic lobectomy and sometimes require planned or emergent conversion to open surgery. Several authors have identified and reported causes and implications of intraoperative conversion to thoracotomy using different types of classification. The aim of this single centre retrospective review is to evaluate how the reasons for conversion change with increased experience, dividing patients who were converted to thoracotomy during video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) lobectomy, between 2011 and 2017, in two groups: those treated during learning curve (LC group) and those treated after learning curve (ALC group). Our research suggests that the conversion rate, with increased skills, decreases but a variety of reasons for conversion persist. Of these, calcified, benign or malignant hilar adenopathy is the most frequent and represents the leading cause of conversion to open surgery due to complicated vascular dissection or vessel injury. It’s strongly recommended, with increased confidence in performing VATS lobectomies, also to develop management strategies and techniques to prevent and control possible intraoperative adverse events.