The anatomy of the thoracic outlet is complex, and the optimum surgical approach to pathologic disease at this location is controversial. Although the Dartevelle approach to the apex seems to be a safer and more direct approach, this technique has not been widely adopted in the United States. We have used this approach for pathologic disease at the thoracic outlet and modified it. Our experience is described in this article.A retrospective review was performed on all patients who underwent an anterior approach between December 1997 and May 2003.There were 42 patients who underwent anterior approaches to pathologic disease at the level of the outlet. Diagnosis included apical non-small cell lung cancers (20 patients), osteosarcoma (2 patients), spinal cord compression (5 patients), solitary metastasis (4 patients), and benign lesions (11 patients). There were 22 female and 20 male patients with ages ranging from 26 to 82 years (mean age, 54.6 years). There were 25 complications in 14 patients and 1 in-hospital death. A transmanubrial approach was used in 14 patients, the standard Dartevelle technique was used in 8 patients, and a transclavicular approach with reapproximation of the clavicle was used in 20 patients. Reapproximation failed in 5 patients (3/3 patients who underwent fixation with mini-plates and 2/17 patients with sternal wires).The anterior approach is a useful adjunct to a thoracic surgeon's armamentarium. When a transclavicular approach is optimal, division and reapproximation of the clavicle are feasible. In our experience, reapproximation with wires is superior to plates and screws.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2006.01.044
View details for Web of Science ID 000238023300011
View details for PubMedID 16733154