Experience of video-assisted thoracoscopic resection for posterior mediastinal neurogenic tumours: a retrospective analysis of 58 patients

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The objective of this study was to review the experience of video-assisted thoracoscopic resection of posterior mediastinal neurogenic tumours and to investigate the technical features and difficulties of this thoracoscopic approach.


From May 2001 to June 2011, 58 consecutive patients underwent thoracoscopic resection of posterior mediastinal tumours sequentially in our institution, including 36 males and 22 females. The median age of the patients was 38.7 years. The median tumour size was 4.9 cm. Twenty-four lesions were located at the left side, 33 lesions at the right side and 1 lesion at the bilateral side. All procedures generally required three ports, and intracapsular enucleation was preferred. For bulky tumours, dense adhesion and massive bleeding, conversion to thoracotomy was performed by extending the anterior incision to 6–10 cm.


All procedures were successfully performed without death or serious complications occurring. The average operating duration was 127.2 min. The average intraoperative blood loss was 206.4 mL. The average chest tube drainage duration was 2.72 days. The average post-operative stay was 5.19 days. Fifty-three procedures were performed entirely under thoracoscopy to achieve gross total resection. There were five cases (8.6%) of conversion to thoracotomy procedure. Seven patients suffered from post-operative complications, including four Horner syndromes. No local recurrence occurred after an average follow-up of 44.9 months.


Video-assisted thoracoscopic resections of the posterior mediastinal tumours were safe and reliable for selected patients with mastered thoracoscopic skills. Intracapsular enucleation was demonstrated to be a safe procedure. For tumours larger than 6 cm and located in the apex, the risk of the operation increased significantly.

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