Concomitant upper extremity soft tissue sarcoma limb-sparing resection and functional reconstruction: assessment of outcomes and costs of surgery



The purpose of this study is to investigate functional outcomes and cost impacts of immediate functional reconstruction performed in conjunction with limb-sparing resection of upper extremity soft tissue sarcomas.


Patients undergoing simultaneous limb-sparing upper extremity soft tissue sarcoma resection and functional reconstruction between December 1998 and March 2004 were retrospectively identified, their medical records reviewed, and costs of surgery analyzed. Functional outcomes and patient satisfaction were assessed via patient surveys and the Toronto Extremity Salvage Score (TESS).


Thirteen patients met the inclusion criteria. Average follow-up was 43.3 months. Reconstructions included rotational innervated muscle flaps (n = 6), free innervated myocutaneous flaps (n = 1), and tendon transfers or grafts (n = 6). Overall survival was 85 % (n = 11) and disease-free survival was 77 % (n = 10). Average total cost of surgery was $26,655. Patients undergoing reconstruction for hand and forearm sarcomas had significantly higher total costs of surgery than those undergoing reconstruction for elbow and upper arm sarcomas. Survey response rate was 91 % (n = 10). Average TESS score was 76. Of the patients who worked preoperatively, 88 % returned to work postoperatively, and all patients who returned to work currently use their affected limb at work.


Patients undergoing immediate functional reconstruction for upper extremity soft tissue sarcoma resection achieved very good to excellent functional outcomes with quick recovery times and a high return-to-work rate following immediate functional reconstruction, thereby minimizing surgical cost impacts. Immediate functional reconstruction in the same surgical setting is thus a viable strategy following upper extremity soft tissue sarcoma resection.

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The authors would like to acknowledge John D. Hundt, M.H.S. for providing cost data.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Statement of Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 and 2008. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

Author information

Correspondence to E. Gene Deune.

Electronic supplementary material

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Patient 8 degree of elbow flexion and flap contour after functional reconstruction (TESS score = 100). (MPG 2646 kb)

Patient 12 functional result (TESS score = 92). (MPG 2138 kb)

Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1

Patient 8 degree of elbow flexion and flap contour after functional reconstruction (TESS score = 100). (MPG 2646 kb)

Video, Supplemental Digital Content 2

Patient 12 functional result (TESS score = 92). (MPG 2138 kb)

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Mundinger, G.S., Prucz, R.B., Frassica, F.J. et al. Concomitant upper extremity soft tissue sarcoma limb-sparing resection and functional reconstruction: assessment of outcomes and costs of surgery. HAND 9, 196–204 (2014).

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  • Cost analysis
  • Functional reconstruction
  • Sarcoma
  • Upper extremity