Reconstruction of the proximal humerus with a composite of extracorporeally irradiated bone and endoprosthesis following excision of high grade primary bone sarcomas

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IntroductionFunctional reconstruction of the shoulder joint following excision of a malignant proximal humeral tumour is a difficult proposition.MethodEleven patients with primary osteosarcoma or Ewing's sarcoma underwent reconstruction with a composite of extra-corporeally irradiated autograft with the addition of a long stemmed hemiarthroplasty. At a mean follow-up of 5.8 years two patients had died from disseminated disease and one patient had undergone amputation for local recurrence. The eight patients with a surviving limb were examined clinically and radiographically.ResultThe mean Toronto Extremity Salvage Score was 74 and Musculo-Skeletal Tumour Society score 66. Rotation was well preserved but abduction (mean 32°) and flexion (40°) were poor. There was a high rate of secondary surgery, with five out of eleven patients requiring re-operation for complications of reconstruction surgery. Radiographic estimate of graft remaining at follow up was 71%. There were no infections, revisions or radiographic failures.ConclusionWhilst the reconstructions were durable in the medium term, the functional outcome was no better than with other reported reconstructive methods. The composite technique was especially useful in subtotal humeral resections, allowing preservation of the elbow joint even with very distal osteotomy. Bone stock is restored, which may be useful for future revision surgery in this young group of patients.

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