Robot-assisted transthoracic first rib resection for venous thoracic outlet syndrome

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Background: Venous thoracic outlet syndrome (vTOS) is caused by external compression of the subclavian vein at the costoclavicular junction. It can be subdivided in McCleery Syndrome and Paget-Schroetter Syndrome (PSS). To improve the venous outflow of the arm and to prevent recurrent thrombosis, first rib resection with venolysis of the subclavian vein can be performed. Open transaxillary, supraclavicular, infraclavicular or combined paraclavicular approaches are well known, but more recent robot-assisted techniques are introduced. We report our short- and long-term results of a minimal invasive transthoracic approach for resection of the anteromedial part of the first rib using the DaVinci surgical robot, performed through three trocars. Methods: We analyzed all patients with vTOS who were scheduled to undergo robot-assisted transthoracic first rib resection in the period July 2012 to May 2016. Outcomes were: technical success, operation time, blood loss, hospital stay, 30-day complications and patency. Functional outcomes were assessed using the “Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand” (DASH) questionnaire. Results: Fifteen patients (8 male, 7 female; mean age 32.9 years, range 20–54 years) underwent robot-assisted transthoracic first rib resection. Conversion to transaxillary resection was necessary in three patients. Average operation time was 147.9 min (range 88–320 min) with a mean blood loss of 79.5 cc (range 10–550 cc). Mean hospital stay was 3.5 days (range 2–9). In three patients, complications were reported (Clavien-Dindo grade 2–3a). Patency was 91% at 15.5 months’ follow-up. DASH scores at one and three years showed excellent functional outcomes (7.1 (SD= 6.9, range 0–20.8) and 6.0 (SD= 6.4, range 0–25)) and are comparable to the scores of the normative general population. Conclusion: Robot-assisted transthoracic first rib resection with only three trocars is a feasible minimal invasive approach for first rib resection in the management of vTOS. This technique enables the surgeon to perform venolysis under direct 3D vision with good patency and long-term functional outcome. Studies with larger cohort size are needed to compare the outcomes of this robot-assisted technique with other more established approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date9 Apr 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2021

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