Background: Management of chest wall defects after oncologic resection is challenging due to multifactorial etiologies. Traditionally, skeletal stabilization in chest wall reconstruction (CWR) was performed with synthetic prosthetic mesh. The authors hypothesized that CWR for oncologic resection defects with acellular dermal matrix (ADM) is associated with a lower incidence of complications than synthetic mesh. Methods: Consecutive patients who underwent CWR using synthetic mesh (SM) or ADM at a single center were reviewed. Only oncologic defects involving resection of at least one rib and reconstruction with both mesh and overlying soft tissue flaps were included in this study. Patients’ demographics, treatment factors, and outcomes were prospectively documented. The primary outcome measure was surgical-site complications (SSCs). The secondary outcomes were specific wound-healing events, cardiopulmonary complications, reoperation, and mortality. Results: This study investigated 146 patients [95 (65.1%) with SM; 51 (34.9%) with ADM] who underwent resection and CWR of oncologic defects. The mean follow-up period was 29.3 months (range 6–109 months). The mean age was 51.5 years, and the mean size of the defect area was 173.8 cm2. The SM-CWR patients had a greater number of ribs resected (2.7 vs. 2.0 ribs; p = 0.006) but a similar incidence of sternal resections (29.5% vs. 23.5%; p = 0.591) compared with the ADM-CWR patients. The SM-CWR patients experienced significantly more SSCs (32.6% vs. 15.7%; p = 0.027) than the ADM-CWR patients. The two groups had similar rates of specific wound-healing complications. No differences in mortality or reoperations were observed. Conclusions: The ADM-CWR patients experienced fewer SSCs than the SM-CWR patients. Surgeons should consider selectively using ADM for CWR, particularly in patients at higher risk for SSCs.
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