Comparison of the number of pre-, intra- and postoperative lung metastases

Ludwig, Corinna; Cerinza, Julio; Passlick, Bernward; Stoelben, Erich
March 2008
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Mar2008, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p470
Academic Journal
Abstract: Aim: To compare the number of lung metastases seen preoperatively on computed tomography in patients with a previous history of malignant disease with the number of resected pulmonary nodules and the number of histologically proven lung metastases. Patients and methods: Between 1998 and 2003, we operated on 281 patients with suspected lung metastases. The histology of the primary tumour, the number of preoperatively diagnosed nodules, the number of lesions removed during surgery and the number of histologically confirmed metastases of 276 patients are presented. Results: Resection of lung metastases was performed in 276 patients. The median age was 62 years (21–86 years). The mean number of nodules seen on the CT scan was 1.9 (total: 515 nodules), 2.9 pulmonary lesions were removed (total: 835 nodules) and 2.1 nodules were confirmed as lung metastases (total: 560). In 39%, the number of lesions found and removed during the operation was higher than counted on the preoperative CT scan. These extra nodules found during the operation were confirmed as lung metastases in 16% of all patients. A benign solitary lesion was found in 15.2% of the patients and in 7.9% a primary carcinoma of the lung was diagnosed. In patients with a solitary nodule we found no metastasis in 16.4%, one lung metastasis in 76.7% and more than one lung metastasis in 6.9%. In patients with more than one nodule on the preoperative CT scan, an identical number of lung metastases were histologically confirmed in 35% of the patients, a larger number in 27.4% and a smaller number in 37.6%. Conclusions: In patients with a previous history of malignant disease, 15.2% of the pulmonary lesions are benign. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a safe diagnostic and therapeutic method for solitary lesions, with little discomfort for the patient. In patients with more than one nodule on the CT scan, manual exploration of the lung is necessary to detect further lesions.


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