Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery with posterior spinal reconstruction for the resection of upper lobe lung tumors involving the spine

Geoffrey E. Stoker, Jacob M. Buchowski, Michael P. Kelly, Bryan F. Meyers, G. Alexander Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background context: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is associated with less morbidity and recovery time compared with traditional open thoracotomy (OT) for the resection of early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Local invasion of NSCLC into adjacent vertebrae confers a TNM T status of T4. Anatomical lobectomy by VATS with simultaneous posterior spinal reconstruction (PSR), as a single procedure, offers advantages to selected patients judged as suitable candidates for resection. Purpose: To report the preliminary results of a novel, multidisciplinary surgical technique for the treatment of upper lobe lung cancers with direct extension to the spine. Study design: Consecutive case series. Patient sample: Eight adults who underwent PSR with either VATS or OT for the treatment of a T4 (vertebral body invasion) NSCLC. Outcome measures: Total operative time, estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, postoperative tumor recurrence and metastasis, survival, reoperations, and any other intraoperative or postoperative complication. Methods: Eight consecutive patients who underwent instrumented PSR with corpectomy for the treatment of an upper lobe NSCLC at a single institution were identified. Either VATS (n=4) or OT (n=4) was performed at the time of the reconstruction in each patient. All tumors were stage III NSCLC without metastasis. Results: Patients who underwent VATS and OT were aged 54±11 and 54±2.9 years, respectively. Mean operative time and blood loss were similar between the groups: VATS: 367±117 minutes versus OT: 518±264 minutes; VATS: 813±463 mL versus OT: 1,250±1,500 mL. Mean follow-up was 16±13 months after surgery. Complications occurred in all eight patients. One OT patient had wound dehiscence requiring a tissue flap, and another suffered from a septic shock. No wound complications developed after VATS. Death secondary to tumor recurrence occurred once in each group. For the six surviving patients, 23±15 months (range, 4.5-43 months) have elapsed since surgery. Conclusions: Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery with PSR is a novel and viable method for the complete resection of T4 NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Posterior approach
  • Spinal tumor
  • Superior sulcus
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery


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