BACKGROUND - Resection of sternal tumors may be tailored to the patient and the location of the malignancy.
METHODS - We reviewed our results of sternectomy (typically 5-cm margins) performed in 30 patients over a 10-year period.
RESULTS - Thirteen patients had primary sternal sarcoma (six chondrosarcoma, five osteosarcoma, two other); 10 patients had local recurrence from breast cancer; 4 patients had metastases; 3 patients had other (two osteoradionecrosis, one malignant fibrous histiocytoma). Morbidity occurred in 8 patients (26.7%): wound dehiscence, 2; wound infection, 1; hemorrhage, 1; pneumonia, 1; prolonged air leak, 1; empyema, 1; and bronchopleural fistula, 1. One patient, with multiple metastases, died from adult respiratory distress syndrome on day 25 (overall mortality, 3.3%; 1 of 30). The area of reconstruction ranged from 35 to 264 cm2. The technique of reconstruction included muscle flap alone in 13 patients; muscle flap and mesh, 9; muscle flap and rigid prosthesis (Marlex methylmethacrylate), 7; or other, 1 patient. Nineteen patients (63%) were extubated within 24 hours after operation. Median intensive care unit stay was 2 days; median hospitalization, 6 days. Late local recurrence after resection occurred in 6 patients; 4 from breast cancer (3 patients had concurrent distant metastases). Five-year actuarial survival after primary tumor resection was 73% and 33% after resection of recurrent breast cancer (median, 21 months).
CONCLUSIONS - Partial sternectomy may be performed for primary sternal tumors with short hospitalization and good local control. Wider local excision or total sternectomy may minimize local re-recurrence of breast carcinoma to the sternum.