Muscle sparing versus posterolateral thoracotomy for pulmonary lobectomy: Randomised controlled trial

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Muscle sparing thoracotomy (MST) has been proposed as an alternative to posterolateral thoracotomy (PLT) for pulmonary lobectomy. This issue has been addressed by few clinical reports. To explore that subject, a prospective, controlled randomised, double-blind trial comparing MST through the auscultatory triangle and PLT was planned. The study included patients scheduled for pulmonary lobectomy for stage I or II non-small-cell lung cancer and were followed for three years. The primary endpoints were pain, analgesic consumption and post-thoracotomy pain syndrome. The secondary endpoints included morbidity plus shoulder and pulmonary functions. The trial randomised 100 patients into two groups. Postoperative pain results were similar, although analgesic consumption was higher in the PLT group (Ps0.001). The MST group had a shorter hospital stay (Ps0.003). Three years post-thoracotomy syndrome was unaffected by the type of incision. The women suffered more than men during the early and late postoperative time. An inverse correlation between incision length and pain was found. Immediate shoulder strength was significantly better in the MST group (Ps0.004) but postoperative pulmonary function and complications were comparable. The two incisions results were very similar in the patient outcome, however, few aspects indicated the MST as the more suitable incision for pulmonary lobectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-419
Number of pages5
JournalInteractive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Muscle-sparing thoracotomy
  • Post-thoracotomy syndrome
  • Posterolateral thoracotomy
  • Postoperative pain
  • Thoracotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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