The Thoracoplastic Approach to Chest Wall Reconstruction: Preliminary Results of a Multidisciplinary Approach to Minimize Morbidity.

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BACKGROUND: Chest wall reconstruction remains challenging because of the variable nature of the defect. Muscle-sparing approaches have been described but are not widely applied today. The authors reviewed an institutional experience with chest wall reconstruction and describe the thoracoplastic approach, which aims to optimize flap selection.

METHODS: A retrospective review was conducted identifying all patients undergoing chest wall reconstruction performed by the senior author. Demographic information and operative characteristics were detailed and factors were analyzed for association with postoperative outcomes. Outcomes were also compared for conventional versus thoracoplastic groups.

RESULTS: Forty-five patients underwent chest wall reconstruction at an average age of 54.2 ± 16.3 years. Sarcomas were most common (51 percent), followed by breast (16 percent) and lung (11 percent). The average number of ribs resected was 3.2 ± 1.4, with an average defect size of 212 ± 185 cm2. The most commonly used flaps included the latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major (72 percent). Mesh was incorporated in 58 percent of repairs and operative time was 6.2 ± 2.5 hours. The incidence of surgical complications was 23 percent, most commonly wound infection and nonhealing wound (20 percent). The thoracoplastic approach, used in 14 patients, demonstrated no differences in outcomes with follow-up of 14 months. Operative time was nearly identical, and the thoracoplastic group required significantly less blood products when transfused. Latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major flaps were used more frequently in the thoracoplastic group, although this did not reach significance (78.6 percent versus 69.2 percent).

CONCLUSIONS: The thoracoplastic approach appears to be safe and effective when compared with conventional methods. Although definitive conclusions cannot be drawn, the authors' early experience is promising. The authors believe applying these principles improves aesthetic and functional outcomes and preserves the oncologic safety profile.





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Other Medical Specialties | Surgery




Department of Surgery

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