Surgical Management of Lymphomas Involving the Chest

Alon Yellin, Hyun Y. Pak, Jerome S. Burke, John R. Benfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficacy of surgical judgments in the management of thoracic lymphoma was studied through review of 34 patients with primary mediastinal lymphomas, 30 patients who needed one or more thoracic operations after treatment of extrathoracic lymphomas, and 5 patients with primary lymphocytic infiltrates (PLI) of the lung. In all patients with primary lymphocytic infiltrates of the lung, thoracotomies were required in order to establish the correct diagnosis. Patients with primary mediastinal lymphoma required 74 surgical procedures (2.2 per patient) to establish the correct diagnosis. In retrospect, 40 operations were not beneficial. The procedures that provided diagnostic samples were 15 anterior mediastinotomies, 8 full thoracotomies, 3 median sternotomies, and 8 lesser procedures such as mediastinoscopy. Patients who needed thoracic procedures after treatment of extrathoracic lymphomas had 41 thoracic operations (1.37 per patient). Five operations were needed to manage complications of thoracic lymphoma or its therapy. To evaluate new radiographic findings, there were 35 operations (1.3 per patient) at a mean interval of 5.0 years following initial treatment; the findings were recurrent lymphoma in 62% and new lesions in 38% of patients. Among new lesions, there were 2 bronchogenic cancers; 9 enlarging mediastinal-pleural masses were not caused by lymphoma. The accurate diagnosis of thoracic lymphoma or new thoracic lesions in patients with lymphomas usually requires enough tissue for immunophenotyping. Providing adequate tissue samples and treating new lesions that are not lymphomas often require major thoracomediastinotomies for immunophenotyping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-369
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


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