Materials and techniques in chest wall reconstruction: a review
Extensive chest wall resection and reconstruction are a challenging procedure that requires a multidisciplinary approach, including input from thoracic surgeon, plastic surgeon and oncologist. In particular chest wall neoplastic pathology is associated with high surgical morbidity and can result in full thickness defects hard to reconstruct. The goals of a successful chest wall reconstruction are to restore the chest wall rigidity, preserve pulmonary mechanic and protect the intrathoracic organs minimizing the thoracic deformity. In case of large full thickness defects synthetic, biologic or composite meshes can be used, with or without titanium plate to restore thoracic cage rigidity as like as more recently the use of allograft to reconstruct the sternum. After skeletal stability is established full tissue coverage can be achieved using direct suture, skin graft or local advancement flaps, pedicled myocutaneous flaps or free flaps. The aim of this article is to illustrate the indications, various materials and techniques for chest wall reconstruction with the goal to obtain the best chest wall rigidity and soft tissue coverage.