Purpose: We previously described an original transcervical approach to resect primary or secondary malignant diseases that invade the thoracic inlet (TI). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the technical aspects and long-term results of the resection and revascularization of the subclavian artery (SA).
Methods: Between 1986 and 1998, 34 patients (mean age, 49 years) underwent en bloc resection of TI cancer that had invaded the SA. The surgical approach was an L-shaped transclavicular cervicotomy in 33 patients. In 14 of these patients, this approach was associated with a posterolateral thoracotomy (n = 10) or a posterior midline approach (n = 4). In one patient, the procedure was achieved with a single posterolateral thoracotomy approach. An end-to-end anastomosis was performed in 16 patients. In one patient, a subclavian-left common carotid artery transposition was performed. In one other patient, an end-to-end anastomosis was performed between the proximal innominate artery and the SA. The right carotid artery was transposed into the SA in an end-to-side fashion. In 16 patients, prosthetic revascularization with a polytetrafluoroethylene graft was performed. Thirty-three patients underwent postoperative radiation therapy.
Results: There were no cases of perioperative death, neurologic sequelae, graft infections or occlusions, or limb ischemia. There were two delayed asymptomatic polytetrafluoroethylene graft occlusions at 12 and 31 months. The 5-year patency rate was 85%. During this study, 20 patients died: 18 died of tumor recurrence (5 local and systemic and 13 systemic), one of respiratory failure, and one of an unknown cause at 74 months. The overall 5-year survival rate was 36%, and the 5-year disease-free survival rate was 18%.
Conclusion: Tumor arterial invasion per se should not be a contraindication to TI cancer resection. This study shows that cancers that invade the SA can be resected through an L-shaped transclavicular cervicotomy, with good results with a concomitant revascularization of the SA.