Introduction: Our aim was to evaluate the best intrathoracoscopic localization technique in patients with a single pulmonary nodule and a history of malignancy. Method: We divided 30 patients into two groups, well matched for diameter and depth of the pulmonary lesion. In 15 patients (group A) we performed intrathoracoscopic ultrasound (US) to locate the pulmonary nodule, while in the other 15 patients (group B) intrathoracoscopic radioguided occult lesion localization (ROLL) was used. In both groups, the localization technique was compared to finger palpation. In group A, 6 nodules were in the left lung and 9 in the right; in group B, 7 lesions were in the left and 8 in the right lung. In each group, the distance of the nodule from the pleural surface was 2-2.5 cm in 8 patients, and > 2.5 cm in the remaining 7. In both groups, the diameter of the nodule was â¥ 1 cm in 6 patients, and 1-1.5 cm in 9 patients. All patients underwent thoracoscopic wedge resection, and 6 patients with a primary pulmonary lesion underwent posterior-lateral thoracotomy for lobectomy and mediastinal lymphadenectomy. Results: In group A, US localized the nodule in 15 of 15 patients (100%) while finger palpation located the nodule in 11 of 15 (73%) (P = NS). In group B, both ROLL and finger palpation localized the nodule in 12 of 15 patients (80%) (P = NS). Conclusion: Intrathoracoscopic US seems superior to radioguided and finger palpation localization techniques for single pulmonary nodules. Thus, we are now routinely using intraoperative US to identify single pulmonary nodules.
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