The Surgical and Functional Outcome of Limb-Salvage Surgery With Vascular Reconstruction for Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Extremity
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BACKGROUND: This study compared the surgical, oncological, and functional outcomes of patients undergoing limb-salvage surgery for extremity soft tissue sarcoma with vascular resection and reconstruction with the outcomes of those undergoing limb-salvage without vascular reconstruction. METHODS: Nineteen patients were identified from a prospective soft-tissue sarcoma database who underwent vascular resection and reconstruction as part of their limb-salvage surgery and who were followed up for at least 1 year or until death. Each of these 19 patients was case-matched to 2 additional patients on the basis of tumor location, size, and depth; patient age; and timing of radiation. To compare functional outcome, a subset of patients was case-matched with additional criteria including wound-complication status, motor nerve sacrifice, similar preoperative function as determined by the Toronto Extremity Salvage Score, and no metastases at diagnosis or the 1-year follow-up. RESULTS: Patients in the vascular reconstruction group were more likely to require a muscle transfer (53% vs. 18%; P = .008), experience a wound complication (68% vs. 32%; P = .03), experience deep venous thrombosis (26% vs. 0; P = .003), experience significant limb edema (87% vs. 20%; P = .001), and ultimately require an amputation (16% vs. 3%; P = .07). Patients who underwent vascular reconstruction had only slightly lower Toronto Extremity Salvage Score scores 1 year after surgery (78.5 vs. 84.2; P = .35). There were no significant differences in local or systemic tumor relapse between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Vascular reconstruction is a feasible option in limb-salvage surgery for soft tissue sarcoma but is associated with an increased risk for postoperative complications, including amputation. Although function is not significantly worse after vascular reconstruction, the results are less predictable.