Thorac cardiovasc Surg 1999; 47(3): 188-189
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1013139
Short Communication

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Is the Function of the Serratus Anterior Muscle Disturbed Following Division During a Standard Thoracotomy?

W. Mouton, G. Fischer, H. Striffeler, M. Furrer, A. Stettbacher, D. Lardinois, H. B. Ris
  • Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland
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19. März 2008 (online)


In a prospective study the functional results after dissection or preservation of the serratus anterior muscle in the postero-lateral standard thoracotomy were evaluated. In 14 patients of our clinic with dissection and suture and in 14 patients with preservation of the serratus muscle the muscle function was assessed and compared preoperatively, within the first two post-operative weeks, and three months after the operation by the same physiotherapists. The two groups were blinded in regard to age, original disease, and mode of intervention. We compared the wing position of the scapula in the sitting position and the positioning of the scapula at fixation of the shoulder joint in the sitting and in the supine position. Using a four-grade function assessment scheme, both groups obtained the same functional results. There was no seroma in either group. After 2.8 (2.5 to 3.0) years all the surviving patients described symmetrie functional conditions. We therefore conclude that in order to achieve a better view of the operative field the serratus muscle may be dissected close to the origin if it is then readapted.