Case report| Volume 65, ISSUE 9, e253-e256, September 2012

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



      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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