Balloon-assisted single-port thoracoscopic debritment in children with thoracic empyema

TANDER B., Ustun L., Ariturk E., Rizalar R., Ayyildiz S. H., Bernay F.

JOURNAL OF LAPAROENDOSCOPIC & ADVANCED SURGICAL TECHNIQUES, vol.17, no.4, pp.504-508, 2007 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Purpose: In this study, we evaluated the results of a balloon-aided single-port thoracoscopic debritment of late-stage thoracic empyema in children. Patients and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed age, gender, duration of prehospital illness, physical findings, surgical interventions, and the morbidity in 12 children with late-stage parapneumonic empyema. The diagnosis of pleural effusion was confirmed by a thoracocentesis before thoracoscopy. A balloon connected to a 12 F feeding tube was inserted into the thoracic cavity and inflated with air before the enterance of the thoracoscope. By this maneuver, a cavity was formed just under the enterance point. Thereafter, a routine debridment and chest irrigation was performed by thoracoscopy. Only one port was inserted in all but 1 patient, and the telescope was used as a dissecting tool. A thorax tube was inserted through the port site at the end of the procedure and left for the drainage. Results: The main symptoms of the patients were dyspnea, cough, and fever. The empyema was located on the right hemithorax in 5 patients and on the left side in 7 patients. A second port was necessary to enhance the dissection in 1 case. The chest tube was removed within 3-30 days ( median, 11 days) after the surgical approach. No complication directly related to the procedure was seen. The only problems postoperatively were a self-limited and spontaneously resolved bronchopleural fistula in 4 patients, and we had to perform an additional thoracoscopy to resolve the remaining intrapleural adhesions in 1 child. Conclusions: Thoracoscopic debritment in patients with late-stage thoracic empyema may be very beneficial, and this treatment method may provide any further thoracotomy. A balloon inflated in the thoracic cavity may achieve a wider field of vision for thorascopic surgery, and single-port thoracoscopy is sufficient and safe for the dissection.