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Lower levels of pain and better quality of life following lung cancer surgery with VATS approach

Last Update 06/04/2021

A randomised controlled trial in Denmark aimed to compare pain and quality of life following video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery with open surgery.


Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is a type of keyhole surgery that uses a small camera to help doctors see inside the chest. It is being increasingly used as an alternative to open surgery for lobectomy (removal of part of the lung) in the treatment of early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.

A randomised controlled trial in Denmark aimed to compare pain and quality of life following VATS with open surgery in 200 people with early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.

Participants were split into two groups: one which had the surgery via VATS, and the other which went through open surgery.

The proportion of people with moderate-to-severe pain during the first 24 hours after VATS was significantly lower than after open surgery.

During 52 weeks of follow-up, episodes of moderate-to-severe pain were  less frequent after VATS than after open surgery. Self-reported quality of life was also much better after VATS.

The findings suggest that VATS should be the preferred surgical approach in stage I non-small-cell lung cancer.

Read the abstract in The Lancet.

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