Video-Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery in the Treatment of Chest Trauma: Long-Term Benefit

Alon Ben-Nun*, Michael Orlovsky, Lael Anson Best

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) has gained an increasing importance as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool in chest trauma. Several studies have demonstrated its feasibility and safety, but only a few addressed the long-term benefit of VATS. The aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term and long-term benefits of VATS in chest trauma, with emphasis on the patient's point of view. Methods: Medical records of patients with chest trauma during a 10-year period were reviewed. The study included 77 patients (37 patients in the VATS group and 40 in the thoracotomy group). Forty-four patients who underwent operative treatment during the study period were excluded from the study. Hospital charts and a telephone questionnaire were used to evaluate the outcome. Results: No deaths occurred in either group. Clotted hemothorax was the most common finding. The incidence of wound and pulmonary complication were higher in the thoracotomy group. Patients in the thoracotomy group needed significantly higher doses of narcotic analgesia. Average time to resume normal activity was shorter in the VATS group. More than 2 years after discharge, the rate of return to a normal lifestyle was 81% in the VATS group and 60% of the thoracotomy group. Patients in the VATS group were generally more satisfied with their health status and surgical scars. Conclusions: The results of this study show that for stable patients with chest trauma, video assisted thoracic surgery is feasible and safe. Moreover, it is tolerated better than open thoracotomy, has a favorable postoperative course, a superior long-term outcome, and greater patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-387
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


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