Limb-Sparing Surgery with Reinnervated FreeMuscle Transfer following Radical Excision of Soft-Tissue Sarcoma in the Extremity

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Limb-sparing surgery is the preferred approach in the management of patients with high-grade soft-tissue sarcomas when local disease can be completely resected. However, conventional treatment focuses only on restoration of basic functions to the remnant limb. Lost functions are not restored to normal, leaving the patient with variable degrees of functional disabilities. This in turn may necessitate further massive reconstructive procedures.

Transferred reinnervated free muscles were used to reconstruct functions lost after radical resection of malignant soft-tissue sarcoma of the extremities in 17 patients. The long-term functional outcome included survival of transplanted muscle, speed of neural recovery, and muscle strength and disabilities.

All muscles survived. Postoperative follow-up ranged from 27 to 106 months. All muscles except those in a 75-year-old patient were successfully reinnervated. Powerful strength and almost normal limb functions were obtained. Functional scoring of the patients according to the rating system of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society was 87 percent for the lower extremity and 93 percent for the upper extremity. All patients are presently disease-free.

Use of the reinnervated free-muscle transfer in limbsparing surgery after resection of soft-tissue sarcoma in the extremity may be indicated in the young adult when radical excision of the tumor will result in severe motor functional loss, provided adequate clearance can be obtained and that there is no presence of distant metastasis. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 104: 1679, 1999.)

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