Masses or tumours of the chest wall come in many shapes, types and sizes. They can originate from the skin, soft tissue, muscle or bone and may be confined to a small area or be very extensive. Ideal management of these cases often requires a surgical biopsy to determine the cell type (eg infiltrative lipoma versus chondrosarcoma versus histiocytic sarcoma). A CT scan can determine the extent of the mass and facilitate surgical planning. Up to six ribs can be removed from the chest wall of some patients with full return of function, whereas in other cases the mass may be best treated by partial removal and then follow-up chemotherapy. Large mass resection may require reconstruction of the thoracic wall with techniques such as muscle and skin flaps, diaphragmatic advancement and prosthetic mesh insertion. Pre-operative surgical biopsies need to be taken in a way that does not compromise future resection of the entire mass. Several short term complications can arise from chest wall surgery, such as lung reperfusion injury, blood loss, pneumothorax and large seroma formation. Our skilled staff and excellent facilities are ready to manage these issues, however this means the patient may stay in hospital for 2-7 days after a major surgery.
Lung cancer is uncommon in dogs and rare in cats. Patients often present with a cough but few other symptoms, despite having a large area of lung lobe affected. Surgery can return quality of life for many months or cure the patient, depending on the location and type of the tumour.
Pulmonary carcinoma is the most common. Other causes of lung masses include grass seeds, abscesses, and granulomas. Dogs and cats have several lung lobes.
Depending on the tumour location, one or more lobes may need to be removed. Patients can return to excellent athletic function after lung lobectomy, once their bodies adjust to the change. Surgery to remove a lung lobe is planned well in advance (excepting emergency surgery for lung lobe torsion, which is performed as needed) and patients stay in hospital for 2-5 days post-operatively.The removed lung lobe is sent for histo-pathological analysis, and often for culture and sensitivity testing.
This helps us understand the underlying cause, and plan treatment to prevent relapse or recurrence.
Chest wall mass surrounding lower ribcage, patient being clipped for biopsy of chest wall mass.