Video-assisted thoracic surgery for tiny pulmonary nodules with real-time image guidance in the hybrid theatre: the initial experience

Peter S. Y. Yu, Cheuk Man Chu, Rainbow W. H. Lau, Innes Y. P. Wan, Malcolm J. Underwood, Simon C. H. Yu, Calvin S. H. Ng


Background: Localization of tiny lung nodules during video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) resection can be challenging. Real-time image-guided hookwire localization of the target lesions immediately followed by VATS lung resection in the hybrid operating theatre setting is an emerging approach.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed our experience with this form of hybrid operating theatre image-guided VATS (iVATS) for lung nodules 1.5 cm or less, or soft in consistency. These patients were compared with matched cohort who received standard hookwire localization in the radiology department.
Results: From February 2014 to September 2017, lung nodules of indeterminate nature in 32 consecutive patients with mean size 9.1±4.6 mm underwent iVATS. All were accurately localized by hookwire and successfully resected. There was no postoperative mortality. There were 21 (66%) malignant lesions, all with adequate resection margins. Major outcomes were compared with a comparable cohort of 8 patients who received standard hookwire localization and VATS (sVATS) performed at separate departments operation suites. sVATS groups has significantly longer ‘at-risk’ period for pneumothorax progression and hookwire dislodgement (109.5±57.1 minutes for sVATS vs. 41.1±15.0 minutes for iVATS, P=0.011), and a higher risk of hookwire dislodgement (25% for sVATS vs. 0 for iVATS, P=0.036).
Conclusions: Real-time image-guided hookwire localization in the hybrid theatre setting is an effective facilitator of VATS resection of tiny lung nodules in selected patients, and may have added advantages in terms of safety and localization accuracy over the conventional sVATS method.