Reconstruction of the Scapula in Pediatric and Adolescent Patients After Total Scapulectomy. A Report of 10 Patients Treated by Extracorporeal Irradiation and Reimplantation of the Scapula

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Abstract

Background:

Ewing sarcoma of the scapula is uncommon. Restoration of shoulder function after total scapulectomy is challenging. Extracorporeal irradiation and reimplantation is a well-known method of biological reconstruction in orthopaedic oncology; yet very few reports in the literature describe its specific use in tumors of the scapula.

Patients and Methods:

Ten patients with the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma of the scapula were surgically treated by total scapulectomy and extracorporeal irradiation and reimplantation of the scapula. The mean age at presentation was 10 years (3 to 15 y). Six patients were male individuals and 4 were female individuals. An extracorporeal single dose of 5000 cGy was applied to each graft. At reimplantation, internal fixation was used in the first 2 cases, whereas, in the following 8 patients, stabilization was carried out by resuturing of the glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joint capsules without internal fixation. An ipsilateral Latissimus Dorsi muscle flap was used in all patients to cover the irradiated scapula.

Results:

The mean follow-up duration was 29.2 months (13 to 50 m). At the latest follow-up, 8 patients were continuously disease free and 2 patients had systemic relapse. No patient had local recurrence. The mean musculoskeletal tumor society functional score was 87% (66.6% to 100%). Eight of the 10 patients (80%) could actively elevate the upper limb up to and beyond 90 degrees in both the forward and scapular planes. Complications included wound gaping in 2 patients (20%), dislocation of the acromioclavicular joint in 3 patients (30%), and partial resorption of the scapular graft in 5 patients (50%). No patient showed any progressive deterioration of his or her shoulder function throughout the follow-up period.

Conclusions:

The irradiated scapular graft provides a stable biological fulcrum for the reattached muscles of the shoulder joint after total scapulectomy, thereby providing an adequate postoperative range of shoulder elevation. A longer follow-up study is needed to evaluate the progression and effect of graft resorption on the functional outcome.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV.

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