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Surgical treatment of thoracic dumbbell tumors.

BACKGROUND: Thoracic dumbbell tumors are uncommon neoplasms arising from neurogenic elements of the posterior mediastinum. Surgical removal of these tumors with mediastinal, neuroforaminal and intraspinal components can often be challenging. The purpose of this study is to present our experience of single-stage removal of dumbbell tumors of the posterior mediastinum and to discuss the surgical strategies for such tumors.

METHOD: A retrospective analysis was performed on 20 patients who underwent surgery for thoracic dumbbell tumors at our department during the period 2008 to 2016. Patient demographics, clinical features, operative reports, and pre- and postoperative images were reviewed.

RESULT: Complete resection was achieved in all patients, with no postoperative mortality. Surgical excision was performed by laminectomy plus Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in 10 patients and laminectomy plus thoracotomy in 4 patients. Two patients underwent VATS alone. Supraclavicular and transthoracic approach was performed in 2 patients. Another 2 patients were treated with supraclavicular approach alone. The mean operative time was 244 min (range 55-370 min), with mean estimated blood loss (EBL) of 360 ml (range 50-790 ml). Postoperative complications included one case of Horner's syndrome and one case of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage. At a mean follow-up of 29 months no patients showed recurrence of the tumor.

CONCLUSION: Thoracic dumbbell tumors should be evaluated for intraspinal and neuroforaminal involvement. Single-stage posterior laminectomy plus VATS/thoracotomy, VATS/thoracotomy, and supraclavicular alone or combined with transthoracic approach all could be the preferred method for removing these dumbbell tumors with satisfactory outcomes.

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