Surgical Technique

Video-assisted mediastinoscopic lymphadenectomy combined with transcervical thoracoscopy

Juan Carlos Trujillo-Reyes, Elisabeth Martínez-Téllez


Surgical techniques remain the gold standard to diagnose and staging lung and pleural tumours. Non-invasive techniques have become more accurate but actually they are not enough to plan and evaluating prognosis of lung and pleural tumours. In some cases, we need to explore the pleural cavity and the mediastinal lymph node status to confirm or rule out tumour dissemination. The combination of video-assisted mediastinoscopic lymphadenectomy (VAMLA) and thoracoscopy through a single transcervical incision allows the surgeon to widen the range of the exploration and to improve the staging for lung and pleural cancers. VAMLA allows to perform a complete lymphadenectomy of the subcarinal space, the right and pretracheal areas. We consider sampling more safety on the left side to avoid left recurrent nerve injuries. Once this mediastinal tissue is removed, the right mediastinal pleura can be identified and incised. Once mediastinal pleura is opened, a 5 mm 30º thoracoscope is inserted through the video- mediastinoscope into the pleural cavity. It allows to obtain samples of parietal or visceral pleural, pleural fluid or lung nodules if present. In case of left-sided thoracoscopy the access to the left pleural cavity is anterior to the aortic arch as for extended cervical mediastinoscopy. The combination of VAMLA and thoracoscopy is useful to explore the mediastinum and the pleural space from a single incision and in the same surgical setting through the transcervical approach.

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