Limb-sparing resections of the shoulder girdle: A long-term follow-up study

J Am Coll Surg. 2002 Apr; 194(4): 422-35
Bickels J, Wittig JC, Kollender Y, Kellar-Graney K, Meller I, Malawer MM

BACKGROUND: Limb-sparing surgeries around the shoulder girdle pose a surgical difficulty, because tumors arising in this location are frequently large at presentation, are juxtaposed to the neurovascular bundle, require en bloc resection of proportionally large amounts of bone and soft tissues, and necessitate complex resection and reconstruction.

STUDY DESIGN: Between 1980 and 1997, we treated 134 patients who presented with 110 primary malignant, 12 metastatic, and 12 benign aggressive bone and soft tissue tumors of the shoulder girdle and subsequently underwent a limb-sparing resection. Reconstruction of the bone defect included 92 proximal humerus and 9 scapular prostheses. All patients were followed up for a minimum of 2 years. We summarize the principles of limb-sparing resections of the shoulder girdle, with emphasis on the surgical anatomy of the shoulder girdle, principles of resection and reconstruction, and functional outcomes.

RESULTS: Function was estimated to be good or excellent in 101 patients (75.4%), moderate in 23 patients (17.1%), and poor in 10 patients (7.5%). Complications included 13 transient nerve palsies, 2 deep wound infections, and 1 prosthetic loosening. Local tumor recurrence occurred in 5 of 103 (4.9%) patients with primary sarcomas of the shoulder girdle.

CONCLUSIONS: Detailed preoperative evaluation and surgical planning are essential for performing a limb-sparing resection around the shoulder girdle. Local tumor control, associated with good functional outcomes, is achieved in the majority of patients.

Contact Information

7830 Old Georgetown Rd
Bethesda, MD 20814

martin.malawer at    


fax: 301-215-7939

Location Map

Map to Dr. Malawer

ASK the Doctor!

Copyright © 2013 and Dr. Martin Malawer