Research Article

Anatomical information for intercostobrachial nerve preservation in axillary lymph node dissection for breast cancer

Published: January 24, 2014
Genet. Mol. Res. 13 (4) : 9315-9323 DOI: 10.4238/2014.January.24.13

Abstract

This study aimed to provide additional anatomical information for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) through in vivo anatomy studies of intercostobrachial nerve (ICBN) preservation in order to provide theoretical and practical experience for clinicians. A total of 156 patients with breast cancer underwent ALND at the Department of Gynecology of Baotou Tumor Hospital between June 2009 and March 2010. The origin, destination, main source, length, branch type, and direction of ICBN in axilla were observed, as well as its relationship with adjacent major blood vessels and nerves within the axilla. There were 120 cases of single trunk, 23 cases of double trunks, 9 cases of multiple trunks, and 4 cases without trunks in 156 patients with ICBN preservation. The transverse diameter at the origin of the ICBN was 1.89 ± 0.44 mm with a length of 94.45 ± 12.08 mm; the distances were 77.19 ± 21.04 mm, 29.34 ± 6.73 mm, 90.04 ± 13.13 mm, and 28.63 ± 13.01 mm from origin to the inferior margin at the midpoint of the clavicle, inferior margin of the axillary vein, the bottom of axilla, and branch point, respectively. The identification, dissection, and preservation of ICBN was simple and easy in a modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer and breast-conserving surgery, which only took 10-20 min, but effectively reduced the incidence of post-mastectomy pain syndrome and significantly improved the quality of life for patients after surgery.

This study aimed to provide additional anatomical information for axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) through in vivo anatomy studies of intercostobrachial nerve (ICBN) preservation in order to provide theoretical and practical experience for clinicians. A total of 156 patients with breast cancer underwent ALND at the Department of Gynecology of Baotou Tumor Hospital between June 2009 and March 2010. The origin, destination, main source, length, branch type, and direction of ICBN in axilla were observed, as well as its relationship with adjacent major blood vessels and nerves within the axilla. There were 120 cases of single trunk, 23 cases of double trunks, 9 cases of multiple trunks, and 4 cases without trunks in 156 patients with ICBN preservation. The transverse diameter at the origin of the ICBN was 1.89 ± 0.44 mm with a length of 94.45 ± 12.08 mm; the distances were 77.19 ± 21.04 mm, 29.34 ± 6.73 mm, 90.04 ± 13.13 mm, and 28.63 ± 13.01 mm from origin to the inferior margin at the midpoint of the clavicle, inferior margin of the axillary vein, the bottom of axilla, and branch point, respectively. The identification, dissection, and preservation of ICBN was simple and easy in a modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer and breast-conserving surgery, which only took 10-20 min, but effectively reduced the incidence of post-mastectomy pain syndrome and significantly improved the quality of life for patients after surgery.