Electromagnetic Transthoracic Nodule Localization for Minimally Invasive Pulmonary Resection

Jason Long, Roman Petrov, Benjamin Haithcock, David Chambers, Adam Belanger, Allen Cole Burks, M. Patricia Rivera, Sohini Ghosh, Christina MacRosty, Ashley Delgado, Jason Akulian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Increased use of chest computed tomography and the institution of lung cancer screening have increased the detection of ground-glass and small pulmonary nodules. Intraoperative localization of these lesions via a minimally invasive thoracoscopic approach can be challenging. We present the feasibility of perioperative transthoracic percutaneous nodule localization using a novel electromagnetic navigation platform. Methods: This is a multicenter retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database of patients who underwent perioperative electromagnetic transthoracic nodule localization before attempted minimally invasive resection between July 2016 and March 2018. Localization was performed using methylene blue or a mixture of methylene blue and the patient's blood (1:1 ratio). Patient, nodule, and procedure characteristics were collected and reported. Results: Thirty-one nodules were resected from 30 patients. Twenty-nine of 31 nodules (94%) were successfully localized. Minimally invasive resection was successful in 93% of patients (28/30); 7% (2/30) required conversion to thoracotomy. The median nodule size was 13 mm (interquartile range 25%-75%, 9.5-15.5), and the median depth from the surface of the visceral pleura to the nodule was 10 mm (interquartile range 25%-75%, 5.0-15.9). Seventy-one percent (22/31) of nodules were malignant. No complications associated with nodule localization were reported. Conclusions: The use of intraoperative electromagnetic transthoracic nodule localization before thoracoscopic resection of small and/or difficult to palpate lung nodules is safe and effective, potentially eliminating the need for direct nodule palpation. Use of this technique aids in minimally invasive localization and resection of small, deep, and/or ground-glass lung nodules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1528-1534
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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