The experience of one regional thoracic surgical unit in managing intrathoracic neural tumours over a 25-year period is presented. Neural tumour was diagnosed in 55 patients, of whom 41 were asymptomatic. In 11 patients complete resection was not achieved--the reasons for this and its effect on the outcome of the patient are discussed. There were 52 posterior mediastinal and three lateral chest wall tumours. The pathological distribution was as follows--benign nerve sheath tumours (neurofibroma, neurilemoma) 39, ganglioneuroma 13, and neuroblastoma 3. One neurofibroma recurred as a neurosarcoma six years after its apparently complete resection and was removed by an extensive resection at reoperation. One neuroblastoma recurred within the spinal canal four years after incomplete excision at thoracotomy--this patient died subsequently of widespread metastatic neuroblastoma. No other tumour is known to have recurred.
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