Lung sealing using the tissue-welding technology in spontaneous pneumothorax

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Objective: Welding of lung tissue is a new radio-frequency surgical method that allows sealing pulmonary tissue without overheating and damaging the tissue. The objective of the research was to study the results of sealing the lung tissue in a non-resectional procedure for spontaneous pneumothorax comprising ablation of bullae via video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Methods: We present a series of 133 consecutive patients with primary spontaneous pneumothorax, who were operated on during the past 3 years. Among 133 patients, 123 were men and 10 were women, with an average age of 26 years (from 14 to 59 years). Indications for surgery were pneumothorax recurrence (59 patients), contralateral occurrence (13), bilateral pneumothorax (one) and haemopneumothorax (two). Prolonged air leakage for more than 2 days was observed in 58 patients. We used the tissue-welding technology and an original bipolar hand-piece for bullae electroablation and lung sealing. Conventional apical pleural abrasion was carried out in all cases. Chest tubes were removed 48 h postoperatively by protocol. Results: Intra-operatively, emphysema-like changes and blebs under 1 cm were seen in 29 patients (22%) and bullae of 1-2 cm in 48 patients (36%); in 56 cases (42%) the size of bullae exceeded 2 cm. In all cases, lung sealing was achieved by tissue welding alone, without using staplers, sutures, glues and sealants. The operating time depended on the presence of adhesions and the number of bullae, but did not exceed 65 min. Postoperative air leakage for 1-6 days was observed in six patients. Neither mortality nor major morbidity was observed. There were seven recurrences (5.2%). Conclusions: The tissue-welding procedure is easy to perform through VATS and is efficient for ablation of bullae of any size. Leak-proof sealing is achieved, allowing us to repair the pulmonary-pleural fistula, thus being a non-resectional alternative to wedge resection. No conventional wound-closing devices are needed. © 2009 European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery.




Linchevskyy, O., Makarov, A., & Getman, V. (2010). Lung sealing using the tissue-welding technology in spontaneous pneumothorax. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 37(5), 1126–1128.

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