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Is it safe to perform completion lobectomy after diagnostic wedge resection using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery?

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The objective of this study was to assess the safety of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) completion lobectomy (CL) for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after diagnostic wedge resection by comparing with standard VATS lobectomy (SL).


Data were retrieved from an institutional database of consecutive VATS lobectomies between January 1st 2007 and December 31st 2013. Patients were grouped into CL or SL. Patient characteristics, operative data, converted procedures, complications, and mortality was compared using Pearson Chi square, Fisher’s exact test, or Mann–Whitney U test.


In total 80 CL and 958 SLs were performed. There were no significant differences in median operating time, median chest drain duration or median length of stay. Median operative bleeding was 100 mL (IQR 50–238) in the CL group compared to 75 mL (IQR 25–200) in the SL group (p = 0.01). There were no differences between groups in major or minor complications. Median time from VATS wedge resection to CL was 33 days (IQR 27–41). Conversion rate was 1.3 % in the CL group and 2.6 % in the SL group (p = 0.72). 30-day mortality was 0 vs. 1.1 % for the CL group and the SL group accordingly (p > 0.99).


This study comparing short-term surgical outcome and complications after surgical treatment of NSCLC indicates that VATS completion lobectomy after diagnostic wedge resection seems safe when looking at a relatively short time interval between the two procedures.

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The authors wish to thank Lykke Østergaard Laursen for her contribution to statistical calculations.

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Correspondence to Bo Laksáfoss Holbek.

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Dr. René Horsleben Petersen is speaker for Covidien, Medela and Takeda and Dr. Henrik Jessen Hansen is speaker for Covidien, Medela and Bard. Dr. Bo Laksáfoss Holbek received a research grant from Dr. Fritz Karner and wife Edith Karner Foundation for promoting and optimizing the perioperative patient trajectory.

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Holbek, B.L., Petersen, R.H. & Hansen, H.J. Is it safe to perform completion lobectomy after diagnostic wedge resection using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery?. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 64, 203–208 (2016).

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