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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1999 Jan;(358):83-9.

Limb salvage and outcome of osteosarcoma. The University of Muenster experience.

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Kliniker und Polikliniker fuer Allgemeine Orthopaedie, Muenster, Germany.


One hundred thirty-six patients with non-metastatic high grade osteosarcoma treated from 1978 to 1994 in one institution with a multidisciplinary approach that included intravenous neoadjuvant chemotherapy were studied to evaluate which factors influence the outcome of modern orthopaedic therapy. Anatomic location, tumor volume, surgical margins, complications, and functional outcome were analyzed. Seventy-nine patients had a limb salvage procedure, 21 had a rotationplasty, and 33 had an amputation. Limb salvage consisted of 32 endoprostheses, 39 allograft replacements, six autograft replacements, and two shortening procedures. Three patients died during preoperative chemotherapy treatment. At a mean followup of 43 months, 81 patients continue to be disease free, three are alive after local recurrence, 17 are alive after having metastatic lesions, five are alive with metastatic lesions present, and 30 patients died of their disease. Forty-seven patients had pulmonary metastatic lesions, 14 had osseous metastatic lesions, three had abdominal metastatic lesions, two had lymphatic metastatic lesions, and eight patients had skip metastatic lesions. Prognosis correlated with chemotherapy response, surgical margins, and tumor volume. The minor complication rate for limb salvage was 4% and the major complication rate was 52%. Amputations had a 6% minor complication rate and 34% major complication rate. Rotationplasties had 10% minor and 48% major complication rates. The Musculoskeletal Tumor Society functional evaluation after limb salvage showed that 23 (38%) patients had more than 75% of the maximum functional score, 34 (56%) were from 50% to 75%, and three (5%) less than 50%. Of the rotationplasties, six (67%) were functionally better than 75% and three (33%) were functionally better than from 50% to 75%. In the group of amputations, 13 (56%) were from 50% to 75%, and 10 (44%) less than 50%. The extent of preoperative necrosis, surgical margins, and tumor volume are the most important prognostic factors. The increase in limb salvage procedures and the better long term survival of patients results in a higher rate of immediate and delayed complications. Functional outcome after rotationplasty is superior to limb salvage reconstruction and amputation.

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