Reconstruction of a massive thoracic defect: The use of anatomic rib-spanning plates

New York University Langone Medical Center, Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, 560 First Ave TCH 169, New York, NY 10016, USA.
Journal of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery (Impact Factor: 1.42). 06/2012; 65(9):e253-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.bjps.2012.04.042
Source: PubMed


Larger thoracic defects require stable yet flexible reconstruction to prevent flail chest and debilitating respiratory impairment. We present the use of locking rib-spanning plates as a chest salvage procedure.
A 30-year-old male presented with a massive desmoid tumor in the posterolateral aspect of the chest wall. The mass measured 22 by 14 by 6 cm and involved the posterior third through seventh ribs. The patient underwent wide excision and reconstruction in layers with a porcine dermal substitute for the pleura, locking rib-spanning plates for structural support, and coverage with ipsilateral latissimus dorsi.
The patient tolerated the procedure without complication. He was extubated on postoperative day zero and has had an uneventful course.
Chest wall reconstruction with rib-spanning plates is an alternative method of reconstruction for large chest wall defects. This method limits the foreign body burden while providing rigid structural support. This technique also makes chest wall reconstruction possible in situations that might previously have been treated with pneumonectomy.

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    ABSTRACT: In some cases, skeletal and soft issue elements are required for chest wall reconstruction. Although muscle flaps and ribs are commonly used for achieving ideal reconstruction, deformation and loss of bone strength are unavoidable in such cases. In the present report, we describe a technique for chest wall reconstruction that can help avoid such donor site deformity. A 59-year-old woman with metastasis of a malignant mixed tumor in the parotid gland underwent resection from the sternoclavicular joint to the first and second ribs, including the manubrium and part of the sternum body. To achieve chest wall reconstruction, we used a pectoralis major flap along with two dual-partitioned ribs. In this modified procedure, instead of simply using the flaps with the whole ribs (which is common), we only used the anterior cortical portion of the ribs. This helped preserve the chest wall strength and prevented deformity at the donor site. At 7 months after surgery, the cut ribs in the reconstructed area and the original donor site appeared stable, without any complications, on computer tomography. Although the thickness of the bone used was half of that used with the conventional method, the skeletal strength was sufficient for her daily activities. Our modified method requires some additional effort for cutting the ribs, but the rest of the procedure involves the use of a conventional, simple rib-muscle flap. With this method, donor site deformity can be prevented, and the procedure can not only be adapted for chest wall reconstruction but also for other skeletal reconstructions that require the use of ribs.
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    ABSTRACT: Technical note. In cases in which partial resection of the rib cage is accomplished with vertebrectomy, reconstruction of the chest wall may be challenging. That is because of lack of the anchor point which normally would be a proximal end of a rib or transverse process. We report a straightforward technique for chest wall reconstruction with the novel use of two systems of fixation commonly applied in spinal practice. The operation of a squamous cell carcinoma (Pancoast tumour) of the right lung infiltrating T2, T3 and T4 vertebrae was performed though T4 lateral thoracotomy. Posterior instrumentation with transpedicular screws T1-3-5 on the left and T1-5 on the right side was followed with the right upper lobectomy and hemivertebrectomy. The laminae and facet joints of T2-T4 vertebrae were removed on the side of the tumour. An osteotomy was performed medial to the pedicle at the lateral aspect of the dural sac on the side of the tumour. Proximal parts of four adjacent ribs were removed allowing radical en bloc resection with tumour-free margins. The distal end of each of four rib plates used (MatrixRib Precontoured Plate system) was attached to the proximal end of the rib. The proximal end of the plate was then attached to the rod of posterior fixation construct with the use of a flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PeT) band of the SILCâ„¢ fixation system. The other end of the PeT band was then passed through the top-loading clamp subsequently attached to the rod of the posterior fixation. The patient did not require additional procedures for chest wall reconstruction. On the 7-month follow-up, in chest CT he was found with satisfactory expansion of the remaining lung tissue with proper spinal alignment and anatomical shape of the rib cage. The reported technique can be applied for chest wall reconstruction in cases of total or subtotal vertebrectomy accomplished with the resection extending towards rib cage. It appears to be straightforward, safe and effective allowing good cosmetic and functional outcome.
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