Lobectomy for non-small cell lung cancer: Differences in morbidity and mortality between thoracotomy and thoracoscopy

Michael Papiashvilli, David Stav, Arnold Cyjon, Zoya Haitov, Vladislav Gofman, Ilan Bar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Until the last decade, lobectomy by thoracotomy (TL) was the "gold standard" for treatment of patients with operable lung carcinoma. Today, video-assisted thoracic surgery lobectomy (VATS-L) has become accepted as a safe and effective procedure to treat early-stage lung cancer. We analyzed and compared postoperative complications, hospital stay, morbidity, and mortality after TL and VATS-L in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). METHODS: Between February 1998 and December 2007, we performed 326 TLs in patients with NSCLC. From December 2007, VATS-L was preferentially performed, and 63 cases of NSCLC patients underwent surgery using this method. Comorbidities were scaled according to the Charlson Comorbidity Index, and propensity scores between the TL and VATS-L patients were compared. RESULTS: Postoperative complications occurred in 142 TL patients (43.6%) and 17 VATS-L patients (27%), with 3.6% and 1.6% intrahospital mortality, respectively. There were no significant differences between the TL and VATS-L patients in Charlson Comorbidity Index or propensity scores, which led us to compare complications between TL and VATS-L groups and discovered that VATS-L patients had a shorter median length of stay (P < 0.001) and VATS-L was associated with a reduction in the occurrence of atrial fibrillation (P = 0.011) and offered benefits for patients with more significant comorbidities, for example, congestive heart failure patients (P = 0.042). CONCLUSIONS: Our clinical impression is that VATS-L offers advantages over TL in terms of lower morbidity, fewer and less serious complications, shorter hospital stays, and the possibility to operate on patients with more comorbidities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalInnovations: Technology and Techniques in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Complications
  • Lobectomy
  • Lung cancer
  • Minimally invasive
  • Morbidity
  • Thoracotomy
  • Video-assisted thoracic surgery


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