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J Surg Oncol. 1990 Dec;45(4):270-8.

Hemicorporectomy: a collective review.

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VA Medical Center, Lake City, Florida 32055.


Hemicorporectomy or translumbar amputation has been described as the most revolutionary of all operative procedures. Frederick E. Kredel, who first voiced the concept of the operation in 1950, referred to it as halfectomy. Demonstration of his cadaver studies established the feasibility of the operation. Amputation is effected through the lower lumbar area of the body. Necessary life functions are preserved in the upper torso. Kredel envisioned hemicorporectomy as a curative operation for locally advanced cancer, limited to the pelvis, not encompassable by standard operative intervention. Additional indications are intractable decubitus ulcers with malignant change, particularly in paraplegics; pelvic organs, and bone infection with nonhealing fistulae; and crushing trauma to the pelvis. The first hemicorporectomy operation was reported in 1960. Thirty-four operations have been recorded in the world literature. Two heretofore unreported cases are added, raising the total to 36. Review of these 36 cases confirms the conviction that hemicorporectomy is a humane and ethical alternative to the suffering encumbered by advancing, painful, malodorous malignant disease not treatable by conventional means. While cure rates are not substantial, the best results are reported in paraplegics with intractable decubitus ulcers with or without malignancy. Rehabilitation is prolonged and costly. Most survivors have been restored to preoperative occupations or other gainful employment.

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