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Left sided thoracotomy T3-L1/2

Thoracic and lumbar pathologies: Left sided thoracotomy (T3-L1/2)

The parietal pleura should be opened longitudinally over the spine at the involved level and a level above and below. It is easiest to begin the dissection at the discs, which will appear as avascular ‘hills’. The ‘valleys’ are the vertebral bodies, and the segmental vessels are in the midline.