Background: Accurate localization of pulmonary nodules is the main difficulty experienced in wedge resection. Commonly used localization methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, clinical work has demonstrated that intraoperative indocyanine green localization under electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy/virtual navigation bronchoscopy (VNB) is more advantageous than conventional methods for patients with multiple pulmonary nodules undergoing simultaneous surgery, especially for those undergoing bilateral lung surgery.

Results: The methylene blue and virtual navigation groups comprised 39 and 20 patients with 119 and 67 pulmonary nodules resected, respectively. Sex, age, number of pulmonary nodules resected simultaneously, unilateral/bilateral lung surgery, pulmonary nodule size, distance between pulmonary nodules and the visceral pleura, pulmonary nodule consolidation-to-tumor ratio, location of pulmonary nodules in the pulmonary lobe, postoperative pathology, visceral pleura staining rate, primary pulmonary nodule resection success rate, and surgical duration did not differ significantly between the groups (p > 0.05). The localization time of the virtual navigation group was significantly shorter than that of the methylene blue group (p < 0.05), regardless of unilateral or bilateral multiple nodules. In the methylene blue group, 25.64% (10/39) of patients presented complications, all of which were pneumothorax, whereas no complications were found in the virtual navigation group.

Conclusions: For patients with multiple pulmonary nodules undergoing simultaneous surgery, indocyanine green injection under VNB can achieve a similar effect on pulmonary nodule localization as classical methylene blue injection under CT-guided percutaneous lung puncture, with shorter localization time and fewer complications.

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