Single-incision video-assisted thoracoscopic right pneumonectomy



The most common approach for Video-assisted thoracoscopic (VATS) lobectomy is undertaken with three or four incisions, including a utility incision of about 3–5 cm. However, major pulmonary resections are amenable by using only a single utility incision. This video shows the technical procedure of a right pneumonectomy by single-incision approach with no rib spreading.


A 52-year-old woman was proposed for single-incision VATS resection of a 5-cm right lower lobe adenocarcinoma. A 4-cm incision was made in the fifth intercostal space. We placed a 30-degree, high-definition, 10-mm thoracoscope in the posterior anterior part of the incision. Digital palpation confirmed that the tumor involved the fissure and the posterior portion of the upper lobe, which indicated the need for right pneumonectomy. We inserted the instruments through the anterior part of the utility incision to start the detachment of the right upper lobe by using a harmonic scalpel. The first step was dissecting the inferior pulmonary vein. The hilar structures were exposed by using harmonic scalpel and a long dissector (Fig. 1A). The upper and middle-lobe pulmonary veins were dissected and transected, allowing visualization of truncus anterior, which was then stapled. The inferior pulmonary vein and the intermediate truncus artery were divided, allowing optimal exposure to the main bronchus, which was stapled. The lung was removed in a protective bag by adding 1 cm to the incision, and a systematic lymph node dissection was performed. A single chest tube was placed in the posterior part of the utility incision.


Total surgery time was 210 min. The chest tube was removed on postoperative day 2 (Fig. 1B), and the patient was discharged home on day 4 with no complications.


Single-port VATS pneumonectomy for selected cases is a feasible procedure, especially when performed from a center with previous experience in double-port VATS approach.


Recent advances in surgical and video-assisted techniques have allowed minimally invasive pneumonectomy to be undertaken safely. VATS pneumonectomy is not a new procedure and in fact was initially reported 15 years ago and was felt to result in less postoperative pain and a faster return to normal activities [1]. Despite this, there have been only a few case reports or series published of VATS pneumonectomies [2, 3].

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Drs. Diego Gonzalez, Mercedes de la Torre, Ricardo Fernandez, and Jose Garcia have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Diego Gonzalez-Rivas.

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Gonzalez-Rivas, D., de la Torre, M., Fernandez, R. et al. Single-incision video-assisted thoracoscopic right pneumonectomy. Surg Endosc 26, 2078–2079 (2012).

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  • Thoracoscopy
  • Pulmonary (lungs)
  • Surgical technical