One step removal of dumb-bell tumors by postero-lateral thoracotomy and extended foraminectomy

Rzyman, Witold; Skokowski, Jan; Wilimski, Radoslaw; Kurowski, Krzysztof; Stempniewicz, Miroslaw
April 2004
European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery;Apr2004, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p509
Academic Journal
Objective: Thoracic dumb-bell tumors are rare, usually benign tumors in the posterior mediastinum, consisting of intrathoracic and intraspinal parts. Surgical removal is the treatment of choice, performed by two teams – neurosurgeons and thoracic surgeons operating in a prescribed order. Methods: Between 1994 and 1997 five patients had dumb-bell tumors removed in a one-step operation involving postero-lateral thoracotomy and extended foraminectomy. This operating method, rarely described in the medical literature, consists of intrathoracic and intraspinal parts being performed by a thoracic team independently or with the assistance of a neurosurgeon. Initially the intrathoracic part is resected, followed by an extensive widening of the intervertebral foramen to an appropriate extension and the removal of the remaining intraspinal part of the tumor. Results: Four postero-lateral thoracotomies and one incision over a huge tumor in the thoraco-lumbal region, without entering the pleural cavity, were performed. In one patient postoperative, transient leakage of the cerebral fluid was observed. No form of late complications or neurologic sequelae have been reported within a 5-year follow-up. Conclusions: One-step removal of a dumb-bell tumor by postero-lateral thoracotomy and extended foraminectomy is a safe surgical procedure that can be performed by the thoracic team alone. Early and late surgical results confirm the appropriateness and usefulness of the method.


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