Limb salvage for neoplasms of the shoulder girdle: Intermediate reconstructive and functional results

Mary I. O'Connor, Franklin H. Sim, Edmund Y.S. Chao

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Abstract

The intermediate functional results were assessed for fifty-seven patients who had had a limb-salvage procedure for treatment of a tumor of the shoulder girdle region at our institution from 1980 through 1990. Fifty- three patients had a malignant bone tumor (a sarcoma) and four had an extensive giant-cell tumor. The resections were classified according to the system of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society. A variety of reconstructive procedures were performed after resection of the tumor, with the choice of procedure depending on the type of resection and the needs of the patient. The functional results were described and graded quantitatively according to the functional rating system of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society. The average duration of follow-up was 5.3 years (median, 4.6 years) for the forty-seven patients who were still alive at the time of the latest follow- up examination. Eight patients died of disease and two others died of unrelated malignant tumors an average of 1.8 years postoperatively. The resection of the tumor was classified as wide in forty of the fifty-three patients who had a sarcoma and as marginal in thirteen; four patients had local recurrence (two, after a wide resection, and two, after a marginal resection). One of the four patients who had a giant-cell tumor had local recurrence. The functional results were related to the type of resection and the method of skeletal reconstruction. After resection of the entire scapula and the proximal aspect of the humerus, reconstruction with a spacer frequently resulted in asymptomatic superior subluxation of the implant and poor function of the shoulder. After extra-articular resection of the glenoid cavity and the proximal aspect of the humerus with loss of the abductor mechanism, osseous arthrodesis resulted in good function that was superior to that found after reconstruction with a spacer or a proximal humeral replacement prosthesis. Our preferred method to achieve fusion was insertion of an intercalary allograft and a vascularized fibular graft. However, the allograft fractured in three of four patients in whom primary fusion had been obtained with this technique. An osteoarticular allograft inserted after intra-articular resection of the proximal aspect of the humerus and preservation of the abductor mechanism provided good function that was superior to that found after reconstruction with a proximal humeral replacement prosthesis, which produced symptomatic instability that led to a secondary arthrodesis in some patients. However, subchondral fracture and collapse of the osteoarticular allograft occurred in four of eight patients by the time of the latest follow-up examination. The results of all methods of reconstruction were satisfactory with regard to pain, emotional acceptance, and manual dexterity. We believe that the use of a method of reconstruction that is appropriate with regard to the needs of the patient and preoperative counseling regarding the expected functional level and restrictions of activity are critical for a high level of postoperative satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1872-1888
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Volume78
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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