CT guided injection of 99mTc-MAA for lung nodule localization prior to VATS

Prem P. Batchala, Paul F. Mathew, Linda W. Martin, Baphiralyne Wankhar, Vijayanadh Ojili, Pankaj Nepal, James T. Patrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: CT guided technetium99m-macroaggregated albumin (99mTc-MAA) injection for lung nodule localization prior to video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) is employed at our institution for more than a decade. We retrospectively studied the success rate, factors that affect outcomes, and complications of this procedure. Materials and methods: 147 patients with 164 nodules underwent this procedure before VATS. Imaging and procedure characteristics, complications of the procedure, successful intra-operative localization and wedge resection, if there was conversion of primary VATS to open thoracotomy and if so the reason, and histopathological diagnosis for each nodule were reviewed by two radiologists in consensus. In case of unsuccessful wedge resection, reasons for failure were derived from electronic medical record. The impact of nodule and procedure characteristics on successful intra-operative localization was assessed. Results: Excluding 9 nodules with unsuccessful localization due to non-procedure related reasons, the CT guided procedure was successful in 96.1% for intraoperative localization (149/155). Pleural leak of the radiotracer, split injection within the lobe, injection into a wrong nodule and gamma probe malfunction were primary reasons for failure. Nodule size, depth from pleura, and time between radiotracer injection and surgical incision did not impact success of the procedure. Among the 6 cases with procedure related failure, only 1 required conversion to open thoracotomy. Conclusion: CT guided 99mTc-MAA injection for intra-operative lung nodule localization is a feasible procedure with a high success rate and low complication rate. Attention to technique can potentially avoid procedure failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-104
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Imaging
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Lung nodule
  • Tc-macroaggregated albumin
  • VATS
  • Video assisted thoracoscopic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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