Computed tomography criteria for the use of advanced localization techniques in minimally invasive thoracoscopic lung resection

Min P. Kim, Duc T. Nguyen, Edward Y. Chan, Leonora M. Meisenbach, Lisa M. Kopas, Edward A. Graviss, Alan B. Lumsden, Nakul Gupta


Background: The significant improvement of patient outcomes from minimally invasive lung surgery has led to the development of advanced lung nodule localization techniques to help manage patients with small suspicious lung nodules or to help resect patients with small pulmonary metastases. However, there are no clear computed tomography (CT) criteria to guide the use of advanced localization techniques for this group of patients.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients who had undergone initial wedge resection of single or multiple lung nodules. We collected demographics, surgical information and surgical outcomes as well as CT scan features. Multiple logistic regression was performed to determine which factors were most predictive of the need for advanced localization techniques
Results: A total of 45 patients (73%) were resected by direct identification alone while 17 patients (27%) required advanced localization techniques. Of those requiring advanced localization, 11 patients had cone beam CT, 3 patients had transbronchial localization using electromagnetic navigation and 3 patients had preoperative CT guided wire localization. Patients requiring advanced localization had significantly smaller lung nodules at 0.8 cm compared to 1.4 cm (P=0.01), nodules that were further away from the pleura at 1.3 cm compared 0.1 cm (P<0.001) and were more likely to have ground glass nodules (P=0.01) compared to patients who were resected by direct identification alone. Multiple logistic regression confirmed that nodule size, distance to pleura and ground glass attenuation were predictive factors for requiring advanced localizing techniques. Every patient was treated with minimally invasive lung resection. A 1.3-cm or greater solitary pulmonary nodule less than 5 mm from the pleura can be removed without advanced techniques with a 96% success rate.
Conclusions: Overall, in patients undergoing resection of a suspicious primary or metastatic lung nodule, advanced localization techniques should be considered in those with small non-solid nodules, which are not near the pleural surface on CT scan.