I am facing surgery to have the upper third of my sternum removed due to lung cancer. the cancer seems to be only in the chest cavity, with little or no lung involvement. I am a breast cancer survivor as well tho this is definitely not breast cancer. I pushed to find out what was wrong basically because of the pain in my chest wall and shoulders. It will be at least another week before the surgery can take place but my breathing is getting more challenging daily and I haven't slept in a reclining position for almost two months. I am really worried about the long term disability of having a section of my chest wall the size of my palm removed. but I am facing certain death in a very short time without it so I will live with the disability and/or pain. I guess my biggest question is what happens with the rib ends that no longer anchor into the sternum? How does the upper rib cage remain stable? Is it nerve pain, bone pain, joint pain or all of the above?
Tumors of the sternum have been considered a challenging problem for a long time. Stability and reconstruction of chest wall defects have caused the main difficulties in complete resections. Improvement of surgical techniques, especially by means of myocutaneous flaps and prosthetic materials, has resulted in successful sternectomies and simultaneous reconstructions. The best people to help you out are the hospital’s thoracic surgery department.
Various types of reconstruction are available like marlex mesh a type of prosthetic material used mostly and also myocutaneous flaps: major pectoralis flap, rectus abdominis flap etc. There will be chest drains initially after closure of your wound.
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