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Lung Segmentectomy for Patients with Peripheral T1 Lesions

      Parenchyma-sparing lung resections are a potential therapeutic option for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with cT1N0M0 lesions that, because of cardiopulmonary insufficiency, may not be able to tolerate lobectomy. Recently, there has been broad application of video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) for parenchyma-sparing resections, typically consisting of wedge resections. VATS has also been used to perform anatomic segementectomies for select patients with cT1N0M0 NSCLC. This article describes examples of both a typical thoracotomy and a VATS approach to an anatomic lung segmentectomy as performed at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.

      Preoperative and Anesthesia Considerations

      A preoperative localization study, typically by computed tomography (CT), is used to determine lesion size, segment location, the presence of adenopathy, and (with positron emission tomography [PET]) metabolic active of nodal disease. Anesthesia is administered in the usual fashion, with double-lumen endotracheal tube placement to enable single-lung ventilation. Most procedures are performed in a lateral decubitus position.

      Operative Technique

      Thoracotomy Operative Approach

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      Figure 1At the onset of the thoracotomy, the bed is flexed slightly to extend the rib cage in the operative field. A standard posterolateral thoracotomy is prepared for; the fifth intercostal space (ICS) is identified (inset). The skin incision extends from the anterior axillary line along the fifth ICS to the tip of the scapula posteriorly, where the incision turns cephalad in a hockey-stick fashion. The latissimus dorsi muscle can be preserved or divided, with electrocautery and suture ligation of any large vessels encountered. Subsequently, the serratus anterior is retracted, exposing the rib cage and the fifth ICS. At this point, the appropriate lung is deflated and the pleural cavity is entered with electrocautery in the fifth interspace. A rib spreader is introduced and the intercostal incision is extended internally to the internal mammary artery and the paraspinous tendons. The lesion location is confirmed by palpation. The lobe is freed from surrounding structures by dissecting free the fissures and dividing the pulmonary ligaments. The lung parenchyma is reflected anteriorly to gain access to the posterior aspect of the fissure. From a posterior approach, the fissure is entered and the left pulmonary artery is identified. The fissure is separated and the lobes are retracted to expose the pulmonary artery and the segmental branches in the fissure. The lingular branch of the pulmonary artery is dissected free (shown with right-angle clamp). Note the tumor in the distal lingula. LLL = left lower lobe; LPA = left pulmonary artery; LUL = left upper lobe.
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      Figure 2(A) After the artery is transected, the parenchyma is reflected posteriorly. From an anterior approach, the pleura overlying the hilum is incised. The main pulmonary vein and artery are dissected free and the branches going to the appropriate segment are identified; the segmental pulmonary vein is ligated and transected (before the bifurcation of the lingular branches). The segmental vein is suture ligated and transected using 2-0 nonabsorbable suture and stitches. (B) Just deep to the vein, the lingular bronchus resides. The appropriate lobar bronchus is similarly freed and the segmental bronchus identified. The segmental bronchus is transected with a linear stapler using 3.5-mm staple loads or closed with interrupted 4-0 Vicryl. LLL = left lower lobe; LUL = left upper lobe; PV = pulmonary vein.
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      Figure 4A common segmentectomy is a right lower lobe superior segmentectomy. (A) From a posterior-lateral right thoracotomy (inset), the superior segment of the right lower lobe is accessed. This confluence of the fissures is the landmark for the initial dissection. (B) On the right side, the pulmonary artery is identified at the confluence and the superior segmental artery is identified posteriorly, dissected, ligated, and transected. The posterior ascending, common basal, and middle lobe arteries are identified and preserved. In this figure, the superior segmental artery to the right lower lobe is ligated and prepared for transection. (C) Deep to the superior segmental artery, the superior segmental bronchus is identified and transected with a 3.5-mm staple load. Individual small pulmonary veins to the superior segment are subsequently identified and ligated. PA = pulmonary artery; RLL = right lower lobe; RML = right middle lobe; RUL = right upper lobe.
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      Figure 4A common segmentectomy is a right lower lobe superior segmentectomy. (A) From a posterior-lateral right thoracotomy (inset), the superior segment of the right lower lobe is accessed. This confluence of the fissures is the landmark for the initial dissection. (B) On the right side, the pulmonary artery is identified at the confluence and the superior segmental artery is identified posteriorly, dissected, ligated, and transected. The posterior ascending, common basal, and middle lobe arteries are identified and preserved. In this figure, the superior segmental artery to the right lower lobe is ligated and prepared for transection. (C) Deep to the superior segmental artery, the superior segmental bronchus is identified and transected with a 3.5-mm staple load. Individual small pulmonary veins to the superior segment are subsequently identified and ligated. PA = pulmonary artery; RLL = right lower lobe; RML = right middle lobe; RUL = right upper lobe.

      VATS Operative Approach

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      Figure 5The devascularized, atelectatic superior segment is transected and removed from the remaining right lower lobe along the line of demarcation, again with repeated 4.8-mm staple loads. To conclude, the staple lines are tested for air leaks by saline submersion. A complete mediastinal lymph node dissection is then performed; thoracostomy tubes are placed, and the thoracotomy is closed (as described in ).
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      Figure 6Although variations occur depending on tumor location and anatomy, the typical minimally invasive VATS approach follows a similar pattern. As an example, for a tumor in the peripheral left upper lobe, a lingual-sparing left upper lobectomy can be performed. This CT scan image demonstrates a lesion in the anterior segment of the left upper lobe. Note the tumor dimensions are less than 20 mm in diameter.
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      Figure 7A 10-mm anterior axillary line incision at the eighth ICS is used as a camera port. A 10-mm mid-scapular line incision at the ninth ICS is used as an accessory port. If an additional accessory port is desired, a 5-mm port can be placed at the tip of the scapula. A 4-cm incision at the fifth ICS is placed as an access incision (depending on the planned resection, the third or fourth ICS can be used). Endoscopic ports are placed into the thoracic cavity in the appropriate incision under direct visualization. Using the preoperative imaging results for correlation, the lesion is localized.
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      Figure 8The overlying hilar pleura is entered and the left superior pulmonary vein is identified. The pulmonary vein branch to the lingula is identified and preserved. The branches to the anterior and apicoposterior segments of the left upper lobe are transected by endoscopic stapler with a 2.5-mm staple load or ligated and divided before their bifurcation. Typically, the left pulmonary artery anterior trunk is deep to the pulmonary vein branch, superficial to the bronchus. LUL = left upper lobe; SPV = superior pulmonary vein.
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      Figure 9Deep to the anterior and apicoposterior branches of the pulmonary vein, the anterior pulmonary artery branch is found and transected, again with a 2.5-mm staple vascular load. SPV = superior pulmonary vein.
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      Figure 10After anterior artery transection, the segmental bronchus to the anterior and apicoposterior segments is then identified, dissected, and interrupted with 3.5-mm stapler application.
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      Figure 11Subsequently, the remaining segmental pulmonary artery branches, the posterior trunks, are identified, dissected, and transected with 2.5-mm staple loads. These remaining posterior trunks are deep to the bronchus and interrupted with one or two stapler applications. LSPV = left superior pulmonary vein; LUL = left upper lobe; PA = pulmonary artery; PV = pulmonary vein; SPV = superior pulmonary vein.
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      Figure 12The shriveled, atelectatic, devascularized left upper lobe is removed from the viable lingula (which is spared) along the line of demarcation and the fissure with repeated 4.8-mm staple load applications. It is helpful to ventilate the lung briefly to aid in the determination of the segmental border. The specimen is placed into a protective endobag for removal through the access incision. After it is removed, one or two thoracostomy tubes are placed, and the lung is reexpanded under direct visualization. The staple lines and bronchial stump are tested for leaks by submersion in saline. A complete mediastinal lymph node dissection is then performed. LLL = left lower lobe; LUL = left upper lobe.
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      Figure 13After a sustained Valsalva and port removal and closure, the VATS incisions are minimal. Additionally, there is the added benefit of no rib-spreading thoracotomy.
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      Figure 3(A) Once the artery, vein, and bronchus to the lingula have been interrupted, the lingula becomes devascularized and atelectatic. With lung reexpansion, the unventilated, unperfused segment is now well demarcated. (B) Along the line of demarcation, the lingula is removed from the surrounding parenchyma using repeated linear stapler applications with 4.8-mm staple loads. (C) The remaining left upper lobe after lingulectomy. The staple lines are tested for leaks by submersion in saline; any found should be controlled to the extent possible with sutures or biologic glue. A complete mediastinal lymph node dissection is performed. Two thoracostomy tubes are placed, one directed posteriorly to the apex and one to the inferior medial portion of the thoracic cavity. After confirming hemostasis, the thoracotomy is closed in a standard fashion. LSPV = left superior pulmonary vein; LUL = left upper lobe; PV = pulmonary vein.
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      Figure 3(A) Once the artery, vein, and bronchus to the lingula have been interrupted, the lingula becomes devascularized and atelectatic. With lung reexpansion, the unventilated, unperfused segment is now well demarcated. (B) Along the line of demarcation, the lingula is removed from the surrounding parenchyma using repeated linear stapler applications with 4.8-mm staple loads. (C) The remaining left upper lobe after lingulectomy. The staple lines are tested for leaks by submersion in saline; any found should be controlled to the extent possible with sutures or biologic glue. A complete mediastinal lymph node dissection is performed. Two thoracostomy tubes are placed, one directed posteriorly to the apex and one to the inferior medial portion of the thoracic cavity. After confirming hemostasis, the thoracotomy is closed in a standard fashion. LSPV = left superior pulmonary vein; LUL = left upper lobe; PV = pulmonary vein.

      Comments

      Anatomic segmentectomy can be performed by thoracotomy or by VATS depending on the minimally invasive skills of the surgeon. In the setting of NSCLC in the appropriately selected patient, complete resection with mediastinal lymph node dissection can be performed.

      Acknowledgments

      The authors acknowledge Mary Knatterud, PhD, for editorial assistance with this manuscript and Jason R. LeVasseur for excellent illustrations.