Instead of crushing the intercostal muscle and nerve that lies between the ribs during rib spreading when performing a lung resection the surgeon teases the muscle and nerve away from the rib and then moves it out of the way before spreading the ribs. This leads to less trauma to the muscle and intercostal nerve and reduces post-operative pain.
This new technique is a further modification of a concept published in 2005. As reported in that paper, the technique divided, then moved, the intercostal muscle and the nerve away from the rib spreader so it was not crushed. In this new modification, the muscle is no longer divided but is allowed to dangle under the rib spreader, further avoiding trauma to the nerve and muscle.
The study used measurements of pain such as multiple pain score surveys and measurements of patients’ pain medication usage. For the 160 patients participating in this study, those who received the modified muscle flap technique reported that pain was reduced both in the hospital and after surgery at weeks three, four, eight and 12.
Those who received the modified muscle flap procedure had lower pain scores and required less pain medications than those who did not. They also were more likely to return to normal activities within eight to 12 weeks after the surgery.
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Alabama