Thoracoscopic giant lung bullaectomy: our initial experience

Marina Kolodii, Sharbel Azzam, Michael Peer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Giant lung bullae (GLB) are rare, and the only currently available management involves either an open surgical resection (thoracotomy) or the newer minimally invasive resection consisting of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). The aim of our study was to evaluate the possible influence of GLBs pulmonary attachment on patient's post-operative complications. Methods: A retrospective analysis included all consecutive patients with GLBs who underwent bullae's surgical resection from 7/2007 to 12/2018. GLBs patient's individual characteristics, including demographics, comorbidities, and clinical pre-operative, surgical intra-operative and post-operative data were evaluated. Results: 20 patients with GLBs, 15 males and 5 females with average age of 48.9 years (range, 22–67 years) underwent 21 surgical procedures. The GLBs were located in the right lung in 12 patients, in the left lung in seven patients, and in both lungs in one patient. Fifteen patients (75%) were symptomatic on admission and underwent urgent surgery. Five asymptomatic patients (25%) were operated on electively. Thirteen from 21 surgical procedures (61.9%) were VATS bullectomy, while the other eight were thoracotomies (38.1%). Complications included pneumonia successfully treated with intravenous antibacterial therapy in two thoracotomy patients and in one VATS patient (three patients, 14.2%) and a prolonged air leak in two thoracotomy and four VATS patients (six patients, 28.5%). Out of 21 GLBs, eight had a wide attachment with lung parenchyma (wide-based bullae's) and 13 had a short attachment (short-based bullae's). Two re-operated patients, with prolonged air leak complicated with empyema, had a wide-based GLBs. The median hospital stay was nine days. All patients completed the 24-month follow-up. Conclusions: Minimally invasive video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery as an open thoracotomy surgery is a safe and effective for giant lung bullae (GLB). Patients with wide-based GLBs were more likely to develop postoperative prolonged air leak that requiring re-operation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Bullectomy
  • Giant lung bullae
  • Lung emphysema
  • Thoracoscopy
  • Thoracotomy


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