Thoracoscopic segmentectomy compares favorably with thoracoscopic lobectomy for patients with small stage I lung cancer

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As thoracoscopic lobectomy becomes widely applied for treatment of non–small cell lung cancer, thoracoscopic segmentectomy remains controversial for patients with small stage I lung cancers. Questions remain regarding safety, morbidity, mortality, and recurrence rate. This study compared outcomes between thoracoscopic segmentectomy and lobectomy.


Retrospective review was undertaken of patients who underwent thoracoscopic segmentectomy or lobectomy for clinical stage I non–small cell lung cancer between January 2002 and February 2008. Indications for segmentectomy were tumor smaller than 3 cm, limited pulmonary reserve, comorbidities, and peripheral tumor location.


Thirty-one patients underwent segmentectomy and 113 underwent lobectomy. Patients after segmentectomy had worse mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second than after lobectomy (83% vs 92%, P = .04). There were no differences in mean number of nodes (10) and nodal stations (5) resected. Segmentectomy and lobectomy groups had similar median chest tube durations (2 vs 3 days, P = .18), stays (both 4 days), total complications, recurrence rates, and survivals at mean follow-ups of 22 and 21 months, respectively. Lobectomy group had 1 30-day death; segmentectomy group had none. There were 5 (17.2%) recurrences after segmentectomy and 23 (20.4%) after lobectomy (P = .71), with locoregional recurrence rates of 3.5% and 3.6%, respectively.


Thoracoscopic segmentectomy is a safe option for experienced thoracoscopic surgeons treating patients with small stage I lung cancers. No significant difference in oncologic outcome was seen between thoracoscopic segmentectomy and thoracoscopic lobectomy. Lymph node dissection could be performed as effectively during segmentectomy as lobectomy.

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