Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2012 Mar;470(3):692-9. doi: 10.1007/s11999-011-2167-5.

Extremity soft tissue sarcoma resections: how wide do you need to be?

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Medical College of Wisconsin, 9200 W Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.



Sarcomas require a wide margin of resection including a cuff of normal tissue to minimize the risk of local recurrence. The amount of tissue that constitutes a wide margin is unclear in the literature.


We therefore determined whether a close resection margin for soft tissue sarcoma resulted in an increased incidence of locally recurrent disease and whether additional factors, including radiation therapy, outside biopsies, and tumor biology, affected the risk of local recurrence.


We retrospectively reviewed 117 patients with soft tissue sarcomas resected with negative margins from 2001 to 2007. Gross specimens were inked and the closest macroscopic margins were sent for microscopic examination. Resection margins were categorized as less than 1 mm, 1-5 mm, or greater than 5 mm. We evaluated additional factors that might influence local recurrence, including radiation therapy, outside biopsies, sarcoma type, grade, and stage at presentation, and development of metastatic disease.


Four of 117 patients (3.4%) developed local recurrence. The incidence of local recurrence was similar in patients with less than 1-mm margins and greater than 1-mm margins: two of 45 patients (4.4%) and two of 64 patients (3.1%), respectively. Due to the low number of local recurrences, quantitative margin extent and the other factors evaluated did not affect local recurrence.


The extent of a margin necessary to prevent local recurrence of soft tissue sarcoma remains unclear as the power of our study was limited by the low number of local recurrences. Relatively low local recurrence rates can be achieved even with close margins.


Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk