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Eplasty. 2012;12:e50. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath: experience with 65 cases.

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University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Ky.



No consensus exists on the etiology, prognostic factors, or recurrence rate of giant cell tumors of the tendon sheath. This article presents a series of 65 cases supplemented by a literature review that examines the epidemiology, presentation, gross and microscopic characteristics, and recurrence rate of giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath.


The authors completed a retrospective review of one surgeon's practice from 1976 to 2001, evaluating 65 cases of giant cell tumor of the tendon sheath. The authors conducted a literature search and compared the case series with historical data.


The tumor most commonly presented as a firm, nontender mass in the dominant hand. Our cases showed a slight female predominance of 54%, compared with the literature average of 64%. A pseudocapsule was present in 51% of cases. Overall recurrence rate was 10%. No association was noted between recurrence and pseudocapsule presence, rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis. Satellite lesions at the first excision were noted in 80% of recurrent cases; however, satellite lesions were not a risk factor for recurrence per se.


Our study shows similar findings to the literature, with the notable addition of satellite lesions in recurrent tumors. Marginal excision is the treatment of choice, but may be complicated when the tumor is attached to vital structures. Therefore, an appropriate balance between resection of tumor and maintenance of function must be achieved due to the possibility of recurrence.

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