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Role of Surgery in the Diagnosis and Management of Tuberculosis

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  • Author: Alan D. L. Sihoe1
  • Editor: David Schlossberg2
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Surgery, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; 2: Philadelphia Health Department, Philadelphia, PA
  • Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
  • Received 18 January 2017 Accepted 24 January 2017 Published 17 March 2017
  • Alan D. L. Sihoe, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Modern thoracic surgery can now offer management of tuberculosis and its complications in selected patients with greater efficacy and less morbidity than ever before. Significantly, newer minimally invasive thoracic surgical approaches potentially lower thresholds for surgical candidacy, allowing more tuberculosis patients to receive operative treatment. This review aims to provide an overview of the role that modern thoracic surgery can play in diagnosing and managing patients with tuberculosis and its sequelae.

  • Citation: Sihoe A. 2017. Role of Surgery in the Diagnosis and Management of Tuberculosis. Microbiol Spectrum 5(2):TNMI7-0043-2017. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017.


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Modern thoracic surgery can now offer management of tuberculosis and its complications in selected patients with greater efficacy and less morbidity than ever before. Significantly, newer minimally invasive thoracic surgical approaches potentially lower thresholds for surgical candidacy, allowing more tuberculosis patients to receive operative treatment. This review aims to provide an overview of the role that modern thoracic surgery can play in diagnosing and managing patients with tuberculosis and its sequelae.

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Image of FIGURE 1

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A traditional posterolateral thoracotomy is traumatic but gives good access for complex thoracic operations such as thoracoplasty . The thoracotomy wound is long , and the surgical trauma is known to cause morbidity postoperatively in many patients. The cosmetic result can be compared to figures showing VATS procedures in this review.

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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A conventional 3-port VATS procedure. The standard 3-port strategy is used with the ports arranged in a baseball diamond pattern (dotted line).

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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Needlescopic VATS is performed using 3-mm instruments that are little wider than a cocktail stick . Here, a lung wedge excision biopsy is performed using two 3-mm ports and one 10-mm port required for delivery of the resected specimen. The 3-mm ports will be barely visible after healing, and the 10-mm port is only as wide as a standard chest tube .

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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Uniportal VATS is performed with the video-thoracoscope and instruments all applied via a single 3-cm incision, thereby minimizing the surgical access “footprint” . Major thoracic procedures, including anatomic major lung resections, can be performed via an incision barely longer than a standard chest drain incision wound .

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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Systematic lymph node dissection at all intrathoracic stations is performed effectively using VATS (in these photos, using a uniportal approach). These photos show examples of good access to the right paratracheal , right subcarinal , left aorto-pulmonary window , and left inferior pulmonary ligament lymph node stations.

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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Decortication for pleural empyema can be performed in most patients using VATS—in this case, with a conventional 3-port approach . The cosmetic result is satisfactory given that the surgery itself is often technically difficult or tedious . During the operation, all pus is drained and the exudative pleural peel is stripped meticulously from the chest wall and especially from the lung surface, allowing the lung to fully reexpand . In a stage II/III empyema, the exudative pleural peel can be considerably thick, almost like an orange peel . Other than surgery, there is no effective means of removing such a thick peel that restricts the lung.

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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VATS decortication is performed for a TB empyema necessitans using a 3-port “inside-out” approach. The 3 ports are sited well away from the chest wall/subcutaneous collection pointed out by the white arrow . The chest wall collection is reached from inside the pleural space, via the opening in the intercostal space. Here, a catheter is seen being inserted via that intercostal opening outwards into the chest wall collection to flush and drain it .

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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Modern CT scanning with 3D reconstruction images gives highly detailed images that are invaluable for planning surgical interventions. In a patient with a stenotic left main bronchus following endobronchial TB, the site, diameter, and length of the stenotic segment are clearly visualized in preparation for a dilatation and stenting procedure . In a patient with NTM infection complicating a right lower lobe intralobar pulmonary sequestration, the 3D reconstruction clearly delineates the course of the abnormally feeding arteries from the abdominal aorta, allowing them to be safely identified during subsequent VATS resection ( and ).

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017
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Summary of selected case series reporting lung resection surgery for MDR-TB (2006 to 2016)

Source: microbiolspec March 2017 vol. 5 no. 2 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.TNMI7-0043-2017

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