The evolution of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery: implications for the practice of uniportal thoracoscopic surgery

Alan D. L. Sihoe


The history of Minimally Invasive Surgery in the thorax is one of evolution, not revolution. The concept of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) to greatly reduce the trauma of chest operations was born over two decades ago. Since then, it has undergone a series of step-wise modifications and improvement. The original practice of three access ports in a ‘baseball diamond’ pattern was modified to suit operational needs, and gradually developed into ‘next generation’ approaches, including Needlescopic and 2-port VATS. The logical, incremental progression has culminated in the Uniportal VATS approach which has stirred considerable interest within the field of Thoracic Surgery in recent years. This measured, evolutionary process has significant implications on how the surgeon should approach, master and realize the full potential of the Uniportal technique. This article gives a précis of the evolutionary history of Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery, and highlights the lessons it provides about its future.