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Modified rib pivot lateral thoracotomy: a case series

Appelgrein, C. and Hosgood, G. (2018) Modified rib pivot lateral thoracotomy: a case series. Australian Veterinary Journal, 96 (1-2). pp. 28-32.

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To describe a modified rib pivot thoracotomy and its clinical application in client-owned dogs and cats.

Study design

Case series of 24 dogs and 1 cat requiring a thoracotomy.


A lateral thoracic incision over the required thoracic segment was made. The latissimus dorsi muscle was reflected dorsally. The predetermined rib was identified and the periosteum overlying the rib was elevated circumferentially, avoiding the intercostal neurovascular structures. Holes were pre-placed above and below the proposed osteotomy site. The rib was osteotomised and pivoted cranially. The pleura was incised and the required intrathoracic procedure was then performed. The thoracic cavity was closed by pre-placement of a suture through the pre-placed holes within the osteotomised rib. The pleura and intercostal musculature were closed, avoiding the intercostal neurovascular structures. The rib was re-apposed and the lateral approach was closed. The cases included were reviewed for both the rib pivoted as per the procedure required and postoperative complications.


The study group comprised 8 Staffordshire Bull Terriers, 2 Poodles, 2 German Shepherd Dogs, 1 each of Basset Hound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Golden Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Vizsla, Bull Mastiff, Schnauzer, Jack Russell Terrier, Bulldog, Deerhound, Labrador Retriever and Australian Terrier, and 1 cat. A modified rib pivot thoracotomy was performed for lung lobectomy (n = 11), oesophagectomy (7), subtotal pericardectomy (5), patent ductus arteriosus ligation (1) and thoracic duct ligation (1). Follow-up ranged from 2 to 40 weeks postoperatively. Postoperative complications included seroma formation in two dogs.


A modified rib pivot thoracotomy should be considered as an alternative lateral thoracic approach with good exposure, minimal complications and low morbidity.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2018 Australian Veterinary Association
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