Soft tissue sarcomas of the hand: Functional reconstruction and outcome analysis

Brian I. Labow, Heather Rosen, Arin K. Greene, Andrew A.W. Lee, Joseph Upton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Functional hand reconstruction following treatment of soft tissue sarcomas (STS) is a difficult surgical problem. Because survival rates between amputation and limb salvage do not differ, there is a trend toward reconstruction. Unlike amputation, hand salvage usually requires multiple complex operations in combination with adjuvant radiation or chemotherapy, prolonged rehabilitation, and carries a high complication rate. We investigated tumor recurrence, survival, and scored functional outcomes to determine if limb salvage is justified after hand STS resection. Patients treated for hand STS between years 1985 and 2005 were reviewed by two surgeons in three medical centers. All patients having functional reconstruction instead of amputation were reviewed. Patient demographics, tumor type and grade, resection extent, reconstruction procedure, timing, adjuvant therapy use, complications, tumor recurrence, survival, and functional outcome were recorded and analyzed. Five patients underwent functional reconstruction for hand STS. All patients underwent attempted curative resections, and four patients received neoadjuvant or postoperative radiation therapy. Three patients received adjuvant chemotherapy. Reconstructive techniques included three modified pollicizations, one free-tissue transfer, and one groin flap. All patients were alive and disease-free at a mean follow-up of 5 years (range 1.5-17 years). Three patients (60%) had local complications, requiring secondary surgeries. Two complications were related to radiation therapy. Hand function was evaluated using the Enneking Scoring System, and ranged from 17 to 28. The average Enneking score was 22.4, representing an average preservation of 74.6% of function. Because most patients retain excellent function and survival is unaffected, we advocate functional reconstruction despite high complication rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Enneking score
  • Hand surgery
  • Limb salvage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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