Background: The efficacy of video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) in the treatment of pleural empyema has recently been proven. Till today, very few works evaluated the role of uniportal-VATS (U-VATS) approach in the treatment of pleural empyema even if it currently represents the most innovative and less invasive thoracoscopic approach. We report our experience with U-VATS in the treatment of pleural empyema. Methods: A retrospective bicentric analysis of 35 consecutive patients who underwent surgical treatment of stage II and stage III pleural empyema was performed, from January 2015 to May 2017. Results: The mean age of patients was 57.26±18.29 years and 54.3% of them were males. In 85.7% of the cases, empyema was related to a complicated parapneumonic effusion; in only 5 cases it was a post-surgical consequence. All patients were treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics and subsequent target therapy for 14.62±21.76 days prior to operation and 23 patients needed the placement of a chest tube. Twenty patients (57.1%) presented with stage III, 11 patients (31.4%) stage II and 4 patients (11.4%) stage I empyema. Complete debridement and decortication were obtained in all patients through U-VATS approach and no conversion or further access was needed for any reason. No major complication was recorded. Only 2 cases of trapped lung were not responsive to surgical treatment. At a mean follow-up of 247.42±306.29 days, 33 patients (94.3%) were alive with no recurrence, 2 patients died for causes unrelated to the operation. Conclusions: According to our experience, we consider U-VATS as an adequate procedure in the treatment of "stages II and III" empyemas when the necessary surgical expertise has been achieved. Indeed, U-VATS permits an easier performance and complete debridement and decortication, with a very low risk for conversion and excellent postoperative outcomes in terms of less pain, fast recovery and cosmetic results.
- Pleural empyema
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Uniportal video-assisted thoracic surgery (U-VATS)