K. Mansour, R. Powell
Sep 1, 1978
The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery
Forequarter or interscapulothoracic amputation is a major surgical procedure indicated primarily in the treatment of malignant lesions involving the bony and soft tissue parieties of the upper part of the arm, shoulder, and scapula. It is also indicated in extensive trauma with irreparable damage to the shoulder area and as a palliative measure in intractable pain caused by incurable tumors of the shoulder girdle. Several operative techniques have been described: the classical Berger approach, an anterior pectoral approach, and posterior retroscapular approaches. A radical transthoracic approach has been described in cases in which the tumor had spread through the chest wall. The two main goals of these approaches have been early ligation of the subclavian vessels and immediate exploration for operability. This report details our experience with a modified technique for radical forequarter amputation and chest wall resection in which a transmediastinal approach is employed. This approach was used in two patients: One had a radiation-induced fibrosarcoma of the left axilla and adjacent chest wall following a radical mastectomy 19 years earlier, and the other patient had a recurrent rhabdomyosarcoma of the right axilla with invasion of the chest wall. This technique avoids time-consuming and individual excision of ribs and minimizes the amount of blood loss by early ligation of the internal mammary vessels. Safe and excellent exposure and division of the subclavian vessels and early exploration for mediastinal and intrathoracic involvement are made possible. Details of the procedure with illustrations are described.