Localization of peripheral pulmonary lesions to aid surgical resection: a novel approach for electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopic dye marking†

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Video-assisted thoracoscopic sublobar resection of ultra-small, non-visible and non-palpable pulmonary lesions is challenging. The purpose of this study was to explore an alternative and efficient method for the localization of pulmonary lesions using electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy (ENB).


Between May 2015 and April 2016, 24 consecutive patients with 30 pulmonary peripheral lesions underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery for sublobar resection in our hospital. ENB was performed before surgery to guide a catheter adjacent to the target lesion, and fibrin sealant mixed with methylene blue was injected.


All patients underwent ENB with pleural dye marking followed immediately by surgery. No surgical complications occurred. The median size of the nodules was 11.0 mm (range, 6-19 mm). The median navigation time was 18.0 min (range, 13 to 120 min), and the average interval between dye marking and thoracic surgery was 22.1 min (range, 15-40 min). In all cases, the target pulmonary parenchyma was stained and had tactile sense with few complications. All lesions were fully excised, and pathological examination confirmed the accuracy of the dye staining.


Fibrin sealant mixed with methylene blue injection with ENB guidance is a new effective approach to localize even ultra-small and non-palpable pulmonary lesions. The visible staining and tactile sensation of this method may allow more rapid intraoperative identification of lesions.

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