How we do it: the anterior thoraco-cervical approach to tumours of the thoracic inlet.

Head & Neck

PubMedID: 16402986

Upile T, Triaridis S, Kirkland P, Goldstraw P, Rhys Evans P. How we do it: the anterior thoraco-cervical approach to tumours of the thoracic inlet. Head Neck. 2006;30(6):561-5.
KEYPOINTS: Tumours that arise in the thoracic inlet and superior mediastinum may be benign or malignant and present the surgeon with a difficult problem of access. The standard approach to the thoracic inlet from below offers limited exposure to the vascular and neural structures superior to the tumours. The anterior thoraco-cervical approach to the root of the neck and superior mediastinum combines the anterior cervical approach with a limited upper median sternotomy. If further access is required to achieve surgical clearance a full sternotomy split can be performed. The approach offers excellent exposure and helps to facilitate complete resection of benign and malignant tumours, which would otherwise be deemed inoperable or difficult to resect completely through other standard approaches. In contrast to previously described anterior transcervical thoracic approaches which required resection of part of the clavicle or manubrium as well as thoracotomy with increased morbidity, the anterior thoraco-cervical approach is associated with little morbidity and the postoperative stay is short.