The prevalence and severity of chronic pain after video-assisted thoracic surgery for pulmonary resection remains to be defined. Three hundred forty-three of 391 consecutive patients 3 to 31 months after pulmonary resection by lateral thoracotomy (n =165) or video-assisted thoracic surgery (n =178) responded to a questionnaire aimed at comparing the relative occurrence of chronic postoperative pain after video-assisted thoracic surgery and lateral thoracotomy approaches for pulmonary resection. Patients less than 1 year after operation (video-assisted thoracic surgery =142; thoracotomy = 97) and more than 1 year after operation (video-assisted thoracic surgery = 36; thoracotomy = 68) were analyzed as individual cohorts. Chronic pain was assessed by questioning patients about the presence and the intensity of discomfort on the side of the operation (using a visual analog scale) and their need for analgesic medication and the presence of ongoing limitations in shoulder function. Patients who underwent video-assisted thoracic surgery (less than 1 year from operation) had less pain and subjective shoulder dysfunction although their pain medication requirements were similar to those of thoracotomy patients less than 1 year from operation. After 1 year, there was no significant difference in these “pain related” morbidity parameters between the two surgical approach groups (video-assisted thoracic surgery or thoracotomy).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine