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Chest wall tumors are malignant tumors that occur two times more frequently in men than in women. Some cases can be asymptomatic, while others can cause infections and subcutaneous swelling.

The spread of cancer usually affects other organs; surgery is the most effective treatment method. These cancers are in a group that covers 5% of all primary cancers. It is possible to remove the tumor with surgical intervention and patient follow-up.

What Are Primary Thorax-Chest Wall Tumors?

Thorax; is the region bounded by the ribs and the muscle tissue protecting the ribs on the side, the vertebrae at the back, the fascia bone in the front, the diaphragm muscle below, and the collarbone above, also known as the chest. The thoracic wall is the structure that gives the chest its cage shape and strength. The muscle and bone system in the region contributes to the continuation of breathing with the abdominal muscles.

Different tumors related to the musculoskeletal system or connective tissue may develop in the chest wall; most tumors are cancer cells. Thoracic wall tumors can be primary and secondary:

Secondary tumors are metastases from other organs and spread to adjacent tissues such as the pleura, lung, and breast.
Primary tumors arise from the chest wall structure and are located in bone, cartilage, and soft tissues. 50% of bone tumors and cartilage are located in the ribs, 30% in the scapula, and 20% in the sternum.

Primary Thorax, Chest Wall Tumors Symptoms

Primary thoracic wall tumors can be asymptomatic or cause different symptoms. The most common symptoms are;

  • Pain,
  • Subcutaneous edema,
  • Infection.

Tumors that develop in the soft tissue are usually painless. At the same time, those that originate from the bone are predominant in pain. Therefore, painful swellings are one of the first signs of a thoracic wall tumor. In case of abnormal swelling or pain in the body, it is necessary to consult a specialist doctor without wasting time.

Diagnosis of Chest Wall Tumors

In case of suspicion of a thoracic wall tumor, a detailed history of the patient and a physical examination are essential. Chest radiography is essential. If necessary, CT and MRI methods can be used.

CT shows rib structures and intraosseous damage, while MR shows soft tissue tumors and vascular relationships. The patient must be promptly treated when a chest wall tumor is diagnosed with these techniques.

Treatment of Chest Wall Tumors

The most common treatment method for chest wall tumors is surgery. In thoracic wall surgery, a part of the tumor is removed from the body. According to the tissue's cell type, the pathologists determine whether the cancer is benign or malignant and the if the left areas are cancer-free.

For rapidly growing tumors, chemotherapy and radiotherapy come into question. After the surgery, we fill the space in the region and thus relieve the patient's breathing. For example, unique materials and body muscle and skin patches are used. The materials used do not disturb the general structure and flexibility of the body. Depending on the progression of the disease and the patient's condition, the choice of material is decided before the surgery.

Chest wall surgery time depends on the structure of the tumor, the size of the removed part, and the other additional procedures. Soft tissue surgeries take an average of 30 minutes. In cases requiring a broader and more complicated treatment, the operation can take up to 5-6 hours.

Process After Surgery

After the surgery, drainage tubes are usually placed in the lung cavity, surgical areas, and under the muscle to drain the fluids produced by the body's surgical trauma. These tubes must be followed up and removed after achieving the necessary drainage.
Some patients are sent to the inpatient service, while others are in the intensive care unit. It depends on the patient's age, long-term diseases, and the effect of the surgery.

Regular lung radiography and laboratory tests should be performed on patients in the intensive care unit. The patients move to the service after staying in the intensive care unit for 5-6 days.

Patients rest for an average of 12 hours and to return to their daily life 1-2 weeks after the operation.