Combination of intracostal sutures with muscle flap to decrease post thoracotomy pain: A singleblinded randomized clinical trial

Majid Mntazer, Shahryar Hasemzade, Reza Movassaghi Gargari, Ali Ramouz, Sarvin Sanaie, Seyed Ziaeddin Rasihashemi


Objective: To assess the efficacy of intercostal nerve protection by intercostal muscle (ICM) flap in post-thoracotomy pain improvement compared to intracostal suturing.

Methods: In a randomized controlled trial, ninety-four patients undergoing posterolateral thoracotomy surgery were divided into two subgroups. Intracostal sutures in isolation and in combination with ICM flap techniques were used for thoracotomy closure in both groups. Numeric Pain Scale and Visual Pain Scale as pain scores were assessed on the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh postoperative days and follow-up visits during the 2nd week, 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th months after thoracotomy.

Results: Out of 94 patients, 58 were male and 36 were females. While the mean age of patients in intracostal group was 45.3 ± 17.6 years, it was 47.4 ± 16.1 years in intracostal plus ICM flap group. The mean operation time for the first group was 191.0 ± 74.7 minutes, while it was 219.3 ± 68.8 minutes in the second (p>0.05). Numeric rating score and visual pain scale did not demonstrate any significant difference in pain severity on postoperative days and follow-up visits between both groups (p>0.05). Although the trend of pain reduction was significant in each group (p<0.001), the difference was not statistically significant (p>0.001).

Conclusion: Intracostal sutures in combination with muscle flap did not reduce postoperative pain in thoracotomy compared with intracostal sutures alone in thoracotomy closure.


How to cite this:Montazer M, Hashemzade S, Gargari RM, Ramouz A, Sanaie S, Rasihashemi SZ. Combination of intracostal sutures with muscle flap to decrease post thoracotomy pain: A single blinded randomized clinical trial. Pak J Med Sci. 2017;33(1):42-47.   doi:

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