History and current status of mini-invasive thoracic surgery

Jianxing He


Mini-invasive thoracic technique mainly refers to a technique involving the significant reduction of the chest wall access-related trauma. Notably, thoracoscope is the chief representative. The development of thoracoscope technique is characterized by: developing from direct peep to artificial lighting, then combination with image and video technique in equipments; technically developing from diagnostic to therapeutic approaches; developing from simpleness to complexity in application scope; and usually developing together with other techniques. At present, the widely used mini-invasive thoracic surgery refers to the mini-open thoracic surgery performed mainly by using some instruments to control target tissues and organs based on the vision associated with multi-limb coordination, which may be hand-assisted if necessary. The mini-invasive thoracic surgery consists of three approaches including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS), video-assisted Hybrid and hand-assisted VATS. So far the mini-invasive thoracic technique has achieved great advances due to the development in instruments of mini-invasive thoracic surgery which has the following features: instruments of mini-invasive thoracic surgery appear to be safe and practical, and have successive improvement and diversification in function; the specific instruments of open surgeries has been successively developed into dedicated instruments of endoscopic surgery; the application of endoscopic mechanical suture device generates faster fragmentation and reconstruction of organ tissues; the specific delicated instruments of endoscopic surgery have rapid development and application; and the simple instruments structurally similar to the conventional instruments are designed according to the mini-incison. In addition, the mini-invasive thoracic technique is widely used in five aspects including diseases of pleura membrane and chest wall, lung diseases, esophageal diseases, mediastinal diseases and heart diseases. However, there remain many problems in specifications and trainings, economic cost, conservation and innovation. Therefore, particular attention should be paid to these problems. Nevertheless, the promotion of thoracic surgery appears promising in the future.