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Frozen elephant trunk: assets and liabilities of a challenging technique

The development of the frozen elephant trunk (FET) technique for a simplified treatment of complex lesions of the thoracic aorta originated as an evolution of the classic elephant trunk technique, described for the first time by Borst et al in 1983. Novel technologies and standardization of the surgical approach produced a progressive improvement of early and late outcomes. Most of the time and for specific indications, FET procedure allows physicians to treat lesions involving extensive portions of the thoracic aorta in one single step. Spinal cord injury remains one of the main complications of this procedure, even though spinal protection strategies have led to better results. We hereby report our opinions and recommendations based on our experience started in 2007.


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