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Chest Wall Resection and Reconstruction

Most malignant as well as large benign tumors of the chest wall typically require thoracic surgery to cut away the abnormal growth. Chest wall resection involves the partial or full surgical removal of soft tissue, cartilage, sternum and/or ribs. Chest wall reconstruction, using manmade prosthetic materials such as artificial bone or titanium rib plating, may be employed to rebuild the skeletal structure of your chest wall after chest wall resection. Some chest wall disorders due to congenital conditions or trauma also benefit or require chest wall repair and reconstruction.

NorthShore’s thoracic surgery team has vast experience performing chest wall resections and reconstructions for a variety of chest wall disorders and conditions. For patients with malignant tumors, we work closely with the multidisciplinary specialists of the Kellogg Cancer Center to ensure optimal surgical outcomes. For individuals who have suffered broken ribs, we provide sophisticated reconstructive techniques to help stabilize the fractures and strengthen the rib cage when necessary.

Preparing for Chest Wall Surgery

You may need to be seen by your primary care physician prior to undergoing chest wall resection and/or reconstruction. Your pre-operative clearance will include a discussion of your medical history and a physical exam. You may also be required to undergo several diagnostic tests, including:

What to Expect

Chest wall surgery is performed under general anesthesia.  An open surgical procedure (thoracotomy), it typically requires 3 to 4 days in the hospital.

After the procedure, your pain will be controlled using one of several methods: a pump that delivers pain medicine through your intravenous line at your demand, by a nurse administering medicine through your intravenous line at your request or through oral medicines. At the time of surgery, a long-acting anesthetic medication is placed directly into the space between your ribs by the surgeon. This pain-control method has been proven to significantly reduce post-operative pain.

After your discharge from the hospital, you will want to make arrangements to have someone with you for the first couple of days if you live alone. You will not be able to drive until you are off of pain medicines.

For More Information

To schedule an appointment with one of our thoracic surgeons, please call 847.570.2868.