Thoracoscopic small pulmonary nodule detection using computed tomography-guided cutaneous marking and pleural marking

Atsushi Sekimura, Aika Funasaki, Shun Iwai, Nozomu Motono, Katsuo Usuda, Hidetaka Uramoto


Background: In recent years, small lung nodules have been detected by computed tomography (CT). Wedge resection of small pulmonary nodules is widely performed with video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). However, it is extremely difficult to identify the position of a small tumor by palpation using a small access port. Therefore, this study aimed to describe a newly devised method of marking the location of the tumor.
Methods: In 51 cases, we marked the skin directly above the tumor under CT guidance before surgery and then placed a pleural marker with dye on the parietal pleura directly below the region marked on the skin using a catheter needle. To evaluate the accuracy of the marking, the distance between the center of the marking and the visceral pleura closest to the tumor was measured.
Results: The mean distance between the center of marking and the visceral pleura closest to the tumor was 12.4 mm. In 47 cases (92%), the tumor was within 30 mm from the marking site. The surgical approach was VATS in 44 cases. In one case, conversion to open surgery was required for palpation of the tumor. All tumors were resected completely. No morbidity was observed during or after surgery.
Conclusions: Our CT-guided cutaneous marking and pleural marking method was able to identify the location of the tumor with high accuracy, making palpation easier during VATS. This new procedure should be implemented in the clinical setting given its ease of application, safety, and accuracy.