Medical thoracoscopy: Rigid thoracoscopy or flexi-rigid pleuroscopy?

K. Yap, M.J. Phillips, Gary Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)
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    Purpose of Review: In managing pleural diseases, medical thoracoscopy is often performed as a diagnostic and/or therapeutic procedure, particularly in undiagnosed pleural effusions. Flexi-rigid pleuroscopes are now widely available as an alternative to conventional rigid thoracoscopes. There is an ongoing debate on which is the better instrument. This review analyses the current literature that compared rigid and flexi-rigid approaches, and outlines the medical advances that may influence the future role of thoracoscopy. Recent Findings: Both rigid and flexi-rigid thoracoscopies are well tolerated. Although biopsies are smaller with flexi-rigid biopsy forceps, two small randomized trials reported similar diagnostic yield using either instrument. No studies have specifically examined patient comfort or the outcome of talc poudrage using the two devices. New techniques (e.g. insulated-tip knife and cryobiopsy) have been used as adjuncts with flexi-rigid pleuroscopy to overcome the difficulties in sampling thickened pleura. Summary: The rigid and flex-rigid instruments have different merits and limitations. Both approaches provide comparable diagnostic yields in the overall patient population undergoing diagnostic thoracoscopy, though their performances specifically in patients with fibrotic pleural thickening have not been examined. Operators using the flexi-rigid approach should have alternative strategies for sampling thickened pleura. Advances in cytopathology and imaging-guided biopsy will likely reduce the need of medical thoracoscopy in the future. Copyright © 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)358-365
    JournalCurrent Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


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