Kyobu Geka. 2007 Jul;60(8 Suppl):692-8. [Link]

Ishii Y.

Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Clinical Immunology, Dokkyo Medical University School of Medicine, Tochigi, Japan.


Thoracoscopy has been recently established as an indispensable technique for diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases. Although, thoracoscopy is usually applied under general anesthesia by a surgeon, it can also be applied by a chest physician under local anesthesia if the target is limited to pleural diseases. The main objective of medical thoracoscopy under local anesthesia is to establish a diagnosis of pleural effusions by means of observation and biopsy in the thoracic cavity. Our main target diseases are the pleuritis carcinomatosa, malignant mesothelioma and tuberculous pleuritis. These 3 diseases are the diseases with which medical thoracoscopy is most useful because they can be reliably diagnosed by biopsies and because early diagnosis and early treatment are essential. In case of the pneumothorax, treatment with bulla looping or cauterization may be possible, but we do not treat pneumothorax with medical thoracoscopy because it is impossible to approach and find air leaks of lesions located in or near blind spots such as the apex or mediastinal part In case of acute emphysema, it is important to release adhesions and perform effective drainage using thoracoscopy as soon as possible since deposition of fibrin tends to form quickly compartments that make drainage difficult. Since medical thoracoscopy under local anesthesia is rapid, easy, safe, and well-tolerated procedure with an excellent diagnostic yield, it is recommended as a diagnostic procedure for cases with pleural diseases.