The Omentum: An Account of its Use in the Reconstruction of the Chest Wall

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Ten patients with lesions of the chest wall amenable to surgical therapy were reconstructed by a transposition flap of the greater omentum. Eight of these patients had been previously treated for cancer of the female breast by mastectomy and irradiation or by irradiation alone (in one instance). Of these 8, 6 had progressive ulceration of the chest wall consistent with radiation necrosis and three had residual carcinoma within the ulcer. One patient had melanoma of the chest wall still persistent after surgical resection and irradiation. Another had epidermoid carcinoma, whereas two sought breast reconstruction after successful mastectomy for cancer. In five patients the omentum was transposed directly on the pleura and lung or chest wall. In three patients prolene mesh was interposed to stabilize the chest wall. In two patients the defect attendant upon a Halsted mastectomy was ameliorated by a one-stage reconstruction using transposed omentum to cover a silastic gel prosthesis and to support an overlying skin graft. In three patients there were mild transient symptoms of gastric outlet obstruction postoperatively. In one patient delayed healing occurred because of partial separation of the omentum from the underlying irradiated pleura and in another there was partial loss of skin graft and omentum due to hematoma. A closed wound was achieved in all cases without infection.

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