Thoracoscopic lobectomy: the gold standard for early-stage lung cancer?
Primary lung cancers remain the most lethal of all the malignancies, predicted to account for nearly 160,000 deaths and 220,000 new diagnoses in 2009. The cornerstone of therapy for early-stage lung cancer is surgical resection by lobectomy with concomitant removal of the draining nodal basin. Minimally invasive lobectomy with the use of a thoracoscope has been established as an alternative to standard thoracotomy approaches. Thoracoscopic lobectomy provides advantages over a traditional thoracotomy, including less pain, shorter hospitalization, decreased overall costs, superior chemotherapy compliance, and fewer overall complications. In light of these advantages and with evidence of oncologic equivalence, thoracoscopic lobectomy should be considered the gold standard for the treatment of early-stage lung cancer. This article details the technical strategies for performing thoracoscopic lobectomy and highlights the published evidence demonstrating its advantages over a traditional thoracotomy approach.
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