Anterior transcervical-thoracic approach for radical resection of lung tumors invading the thoracic inlet

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1993 Jun;105(6):1025-34.


We describe an original anterior transcervical-thoracic approach required for a safe exposure and radical resection of non-small-cell lung cancer that has invaded the cervical structures of the thoracic inlet. Through a large L-shaped anterior cervical incision, after the removal of the internal half of the clavicle, the following steps may be performed: (1) dissection or resection of the subclavian vein; (2) section of the anterior scalenus muscle and resection of the cervical portion of the phrenic nerve, if invaded; (3) exposure of the subclavian and vertebral arteries; (4) dissection of the brachial plexus up to the spinal foramen; (5) section of invaded ribs; and (6) en bloc removal of chest wall and lung tumor, either directly or through an extension of the cervical incision into the deltopectoral groove. An additional posterior thoracotomy may be required for resection of the chest wall below the second rib. Between 1980 and 1991, 29 patients underwent radical en bloc resection of the inlet tumor, chest wall (ribs 1 and 2), and underlying lung, either through the anterior transcervical approach alone (n = 9) or with an additional posterior thoracotomy (n = 20). The inferior root of the brachial plexus, either alone (n = 11) or with the phrenic nerve (n = 4), was involved and resected in 15 patients (52%). Twelve patients (41%) had a vascular involvement that included the subclavian artery alone (n = 3); subclavian artery and subclavian vein (n = 3); subclavian artery, subclavian vein, and vertebral artery (n = 2); subclavian artery and vertebral artery (n = 1); subclavian vein alone (n = 1); vertebral artery alone (n = 1), or subclavian artery and vertebral artery (n = 1). The subclavian artery was revascularized either with a prosthetic replacement (n = 7) or an end-to-end anastomosis (n = 2), and the median graft patency was 18.5 months (range, 6 to more than 73 months); only 1 patient had postradiotherapy graft occlusion in the revascularized artery 6 months after operation. We performed 14 wedge resections, 14 lobectomies, and 1 pneumonectomy. There were no operative or hospital deaths. Postoperative radiotherapy (median, 56 Gy) was given to 25 (86%) patients, either alone (n = 14) or in combination with adjuvant systemic chemotherapy (n = 11). With a median follow-up time of 2.5 years, overall 2- and 5-year survivals were 50% and 31%, respectively. This transcervical-thoracic approach affords a safe exposure and radical resection of non-small-cell lung cancer involving the thoracic inlet and results in encouraging long-term survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancoast Syndrome / mortality
  • Pancoast Syndrome / surgery*
  • Pancoast Syndrome / therapy
  • Survival Rate
  • Thoracic Surgery / methods