[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Large and life-threatening thoracic cage defects can result from the treatment of traumatic injuries, tumors, infection, congenital anomalies, and radiation injury and require prompt reconstruction to restore respiratory function and soft tissue closure. Important factors for consideration are coverage with healthy tissue to heal a wound, the potential alteration in respiratory mechanics created by large extirpations or nonhealing thoracic wounds, and the need for immediate coverage for vital structures. The choice of technique depends on the size and extent of the defect, its location, and donor site availability with consideration to previous thoracic or abdominal operations. The focus of this article is specifically to describe the use of the pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, and rectus abdominis muscle flaps for reconstruction of thoracic defects, as these are the workhorse flaps commonly used for chest wall reconstruction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The chest wall functions as a protective cage around the vital organs of the body, and significant disruption of its structure can have dire respiratory and circulatory consequences. The past several decades have seen a marked improvement in the management and reconstruction of complex chest wall defects. Widespread acceptance of muscle and musculocutaneous flaps such as the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major, serratus anterior, and rectus abdominis has led to a sharp decrease in infections and mortality. Successful reconstructions are dependent upon a detailed knowledge of the functional anatomy and blood supply of the chest and the underlying pathophysiology of a particular disease process. This article will provide an overview of key principles and evidence-based approaches to chest wall reconstruction.