Background. Lateral thoracic expansion is a procedure that has been described to enlarge the thoracic cage in patients with Jeune's asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy. The procedure involves separating ribs from their periosteum and plating them together in an expanded fashion with titanium struts. We have speculated that the ribs heal in this situation, despite the absence of surrounding periosteum, and that new rib formation occurs in the liberated periosteum. Methods. Radiographic studies of patients who have undergone lateral thoracic expansion were reviewed for evidence of rib healing or periosteal new bone formation. Results. This study presents radiologic evidence that rib healing actually occurs, as does periosteal ossification. Conclusions. Lateral thoracic expansion creates additional chest wall that is formed of autologous tissue, fully healed, and not ultimately dependent on titanium struts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine