PMID: 7305519Oct 1, 1981Paper

Immediate reconstruction of full-thickness chest wall defects

The Annals of Thoracic Surgery
A D BoydF C Spencer


Twenty-one patients had full-thickness chest wall defects reconstructed at the New York University Medical Center in the last ten years. Marlex mesh provided chest wall stability in 5 patients. In 9 patients with radiation ulcers Marlex mesh was not required; a severe fibrotic reaction had obliterated the pleural space and prevented paradoxical motion. Partial sternal resections did not require Marlex stabilization, while a total sternectomy resulted in marked ventilatory insufficiency in a patient who would have benefited from the use of a stabilizing material. Random pattern flaps were used initially; more recently, axial pattern, myocutaneous, and myocutaneous free flaps were employed. Necrosis developed in 4 (36%) of the 11 patients with random pattern flaps, but was not seen with the newer flap techniques. Myocutaneous free flaps provided uncomplicated coverage of and stability to three large, potentially contaminated defects. It seems that with the currently available flap techniques and the methods of chest wall stabilization, immediate repair of all full-thickness chest wall defects is possible.


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