What is the role of thoracoscopy in the workup of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Thoracoscopy is usually reserved for tumors that remain undiagnosed after bronchoscopy or CT-guided biopsy. Thoracoscopy is also an important tool in the management of malignant pleural effusions.

Video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) is a newer modality that may be used to sample small peripheral tumors (less than 2 cm in diameter), pleural tumors, or pleural effusions for diagnostic or staging purposes. [54] It is safe and can provide a definitive diagnosis with a high degree of accuracy and minimal risk to the patient. The reported sensitivity rate ranges between 0.80 and 0.99, the specificity rate ranges between 0.93 and 1, and the negative predictive value ranges between 0.93 and 0.96. [54] Survival with assisted VATS is comparable to complete VATS and can be cost-effective. [55]

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