Metastasectomy in pediatric patients: indications, technical tips and outcomes
Pulmonary metastasectomy has become a standard procedure for pediatric patients with certain types of solid tumors. Surgeons, expert pediatric oncologists and radiation oncologists contribute with their different skills to the management of pulmonary metastases. Patients are usually scheduled for surgery in case of primary tumor control, in absence of metastases in other organs and when a complete resection is achievable. Nodules are removed through precision resections using electrocautery or laser methods in order to ensure radical surgery with adequate margins. With these techniques, it is possible to preserve the surrounding parenchyma and cause a limited volumetric distortion as compared with staplers. Anatomical resections (segmentectomy, lobectomy or pneumonectomy) should be reserved for selected cases, since major lung resection can only be justified if it leads to a real oncological advantage. Repeated thoracotomies are possible, since there is no theoretical limit to reinterventions. Surgery of lung metastases has a therapeutic and curative role for some histology with acceptable rate of complications but it finds its role only in an aggressive multimodality approach. Indications can be discussed case by case and exceptions can be evaluated also in presence of different evidences. Children affected by metastatic tumors need to be managed by expert multidisciplinary oncological team in referral center with large experience.