Pros-cons debate about the role and evolution of biportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery
Thoracoscopic surgical techniques have numerous advantages compared to open techniques such as decreasing hospital stay, analgesic requirements and postoperative pain. Since the first video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) lobectomy performed 20 years ago this procedure, associated with mediastinal lymph node dissection, has been widely accepted as a standard surgical treatment for early stage non-small cell lung cancer. Traditionally the videoscopic approach is based on the three- or four-port approach but more than 50% of the patients developed post-operative chest wall paraesthesia due to nerve injury. In order to avoid this postoperative complication traditional VATS approach has been modified by using few and smaller working ports developing the so called two-portal VATS. The purpose of this study is to establish the advantages of biportal VATS reviewing a series of 400 consecutive cases of VATS lobectomy performed from May 2012 to December 2017, using progressively less ports (4-3-2 ports), at our Institution. There were 42 patients in four-port, 56 patients in three-port and 302 patients in two-port group. A propensity-score analysis showed that, as compared with two- and three-port group, patients in the four-port group had increased duration of chest tube (respectively difference and 95% CI are 1.493, 0.965; 2.053 and 1.246, 0.472; 2.002), increased postoperative length of stay (respectively difference and 95% CI are 2.564, 1.336; 3.952 and 2.205, 0.672; 3.740), increased postoperative pain only in comparison with two-ports (difference and 95% CI in VAS score 1.482, 0.909; 2.055). There were no significant differences in terms of demographic characteristics, histology, type of intervention, number of complications, operative time, number of lymph nodes retrieved and pStage between the three groups.