Omentum is highly effective in the management of complex cardiothoracic surgical problems

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2003 Mar;125(3):526-32. doi: 10.1067/mtc.2003.12.


Objectives: Vascularized, pedicled tissue flaps are often used for cardiothoracic surgical problems complicated by factors that adversely affect healing, such as previous irradiation, established infection, or steroid use. We reviewed our experience with use of the omentum in these situations to provide a yardstick against which results with other vascularized flaps (specifically muscle flaps) could be compared.

Methods: A retrospective review was undertaken of 85 consecutive patients in whom omentum was used in the chest. In 47 patients (group I), use of omentum was prophylactic to aid in the healing of closures or anastomoses considered to be at high risk for failure. In 32 patients (group II), omentum was used in the treatment of problems complicated by established infection. In 6 patients (group III), omentum was used for coverage of prosthetic chest wall replacements after extensive chest wall resection.

Results: Overall, omental transposition was successful in its prophylactic or therapeutic purpose in 88% of these difficult cases (75/85). Success with omentum was achieved for 89% of patients (42/47) in group I, 91% of patients (29/32) in group II, and 67% of patients (4/6) in group III. Three patients (3.5%) had complications of omental mobilization. Four patients (4.7%) died after the operation as a result of failure of the omentum to manage the problem for which it was used.

Conclusions: Results with omental transposition compare favorably with published series of similarly challenging cases managed with muscle transposition. Complications of omental mobilization are rare. We believe that its unique properties render the omentum an excellent choice of vascularized pedicle in the management of the most complex cardiothoracic surgical problems.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / mortality
  • Esophageal Perforation / surgery
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction / etiology
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Lung Transplantation / methods
  • Lung Transplantation / mortality
  • Mediastinitis / etiology
  • Mediastinitis / surgery
  • Morbidity
  • Omentum / transplantation*
  • Patient Selection
  • Pneumonectomy / adverse effects
  • Pneumonectomy / methods
  • Pneumonectomy / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surgical Flaps* / adverse effects
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / mortality
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing