Is laser-assisted resection preferable to lobectomy for pulmonary metastasectomy?


The aim of this study was to investigate if laser-assisted resection is appropriate for large and/or central lung metastases, when stapler wedge resection is not feasible, to determine whether this technique can be an alternative to lobectomy. All patients who underwent laser-assisted resection for large and/or central metastases were selected for the study. For comparison, patients who underwent lobectomy for metastases between 2005 and 2017 were reviewed. All resections were performed with a 1318-nm Nd:YAG laser. Perioperative features and long-term oncological outcomes were investigated. Some aspects and drawbacks of laser resection were also investigated. Among 89 patients, 42 (47%) underwent laser resection and 47 underwent lobectomy. Complete resection was achieved in 91% of laser resections and in 98% of lobectomies. The operative time, postoperative drainage time, and length of stay were significantly shorter in patients who underwent laser resection than in those who underwent lobectomy. Severe postoperative complications tended to be more frequent after lobectomy. The 5-year survival was 66% and 54% after laser resection and lobectomy respectively; the 5-year disease-free survival was 35% and 32% after laser resection and lobectomy respectively. No differences were found in long-term outcomes between the two techniques. Our experience showed that laser resection, when performed for large/central metastases, resulted in comparable survival and obtained better perioperative outcomes with respect to lobectomy. We believe that laser resection can be proposed as a reliable and advantageous lung-sparing technique, as an alternative to lobectomy for metastasectomy, when stapler wedge resection is not feasible.

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Correspondence to Alessandro Stefani.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All the procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Ethical Committee (Ethical Committee of the Area Vasta Emilia Nord—No.: CE547/2018).

Informed consent was waived because of the observational retrospective nature of the study.

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Stefani, A., Oricchio, F., Cinquepalmi, A. et al. Is laser-assisted resection preferable to lobectomy for pulmonary metastasectomy?. Lasers Med Sci 35, 611–620 (2020).

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  • Lung
  • Metastases
  • Laser
  • Lobectomy