The reconstruction of defects in thoracic wall remains a challenge for plastic surgeons. Advances in surgical treatment of illnesses of thoracic wall have been fostering the treatment of lesions within more advanced levels. Consequently, larger and more complex defects are generated, demanding soft tissue covering and framework repair.
The aim of this study was to report the experience in chest wall reconstruction and demographics of a tertiary cancer center.
All patients submitted to thoracic wall reconstruction by the plastic surgery department from January 2012 to May 2018 in a tertiary cancer center were evaluated.
Thirty-two patients have undergone thoracic wall reconstruction. The majority of patients in our series were submitted to surgical treatment of locally advanced breast cancer (84.3%). The most common defect location was the right anterolateral region (65.6%). The latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous flap was the most used in thoracic wall reconstructions. Three cases of thoracectomy with rib resection were reconstructed with methylmethacrylate and polypropylene surgical mesh associated with musculocutaneous flap. Four patients presented major complications, and 12 patients (37.5%) presented minor complications. There were no deaths related to procedures or instability of thoracic wall. Twenty-two patients presented progression of the disease, and 16 died due to the primary pathology.
Extended resection of the chest wall is associated in most cases with advanced disease, especially advanced breast cancer. Despite poor prognosis associated to locally advanced disease, it is imperative to perform chest wall reconstruction and allow the patient to continue adjuvant therapy (radiotherapy or chemotherapy) and improve quality of life.