We have performed endoprosthetic replacement after resection of tumours of the proximal tibia on 151 patients over a period of 20 years.During this period limb-salvage surgery was achieved in 88% of patients with tumours of the proximal tibia. Both the implant and the operative technique have been gradually modified in order to reduce complications. An initial rate of infection of 36% has been reduced to 12% by the use of a flap of the medial gastrocnemius, to which the divided patellar tendon is attached. Loosening and breakage of the implant have been further causes of failure. We found that the probability of further surgical procedures being required was 70% at ten years and the risk of amputation, 25%. The development of a new rotating hinge endoprosthesis may lower the incidence of mechanical problems.
Limb salvage for tumours of the proximal tibia is fraught with complications, but the good functional outcome in successful cases justifies its continued use.
J Bone Joint Surg [Br] 1999;81-B:488-94.