A hybrid technique: video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) pulmonary resections for community-based surgeons



Although video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for pulmonary resection was first described more than 15 years ago, it has yet to gain grass-roots acceptance. The majority of surgeons who routinely perform VATS resections work in academic or government institutions. The perceived complexity of the technique, inadequate instrumentation and resources, and concern regarding the potential compromise of surgical and oncologic principles may present a greater barrier to adoption by community-based surgeons. This article illustrates some of the technical aspects of a hybrid technique that enables a single surgeon to perform VATS pulmonary resection on a routine basis in a community-based practice.


From January 2005 to March 2008, 492 VATS pulmonary resections were performed by a community-based, solo-practice surgeon using a hybrid VATS technique. The highlight of this technique is utilization of a thoracoscopy port and a utility incision. The advantages of this dual access are ease in instrumentation, visualization, lighting, and retraction. In addition, this technique allows immediate access under direct vision for urgent control of bleeding, which can be difficult using a conventional thoracoscopic approach.


Mean operative time was 52 (median, 48) minutes. Mean length of stay was 7 (median, 4) days. Mean length of ICU stay was 1.7 days, with 85% of patients having no days spent in the ICU. Mean length of chest tube duration was 4 days. Perioperative mortality was 3.5% and overall mortality was 9.8%, with a mean follow-up of 239 days. These results compare favorably with the conventional VATS approach.


This series shows that our hybrid VATS approach to pulmonary resection is safe and feasible at community hospital-based practices.

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Correspondence to Kazuaki Takabe.

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Kim, R.H., Takabe, K. & Lockhart, C.G. A hybrid technique: video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) pulmonary resections for community-based surgeons. Surg Endosc 24, 700–704 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-009-0615-z

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  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery
  • Pulmonary resection
  • Minimally invasive
  • Community-based
  • Lung cancer