Current role of scapulectomy

Rodriguez, Jaime A.; Craven, James E.; Rodriguez, J A; Craven, J E; Heinrich, S; Wilson, S; Levine, E A
December 1999
American Surgeon;Dec1999, Vol. 65 Issue 12, p1167
Academic Journal
journal article
Tumors of the scapula are an unusual clinical challenge. Partial or complete resection of the scapula, with its attached musculoaponeurotic tissue, is a seldom used technique for the treatment of primary bone and soft tissue tumors, as well as selected metastatic involvement of the scapula. Scapulectomy may allow wide margins of resection without amputation. The purpose of this study is to review our recent experience with scapulectomy. This study describes the recent experience with scapulectomy by the Section of Surgical Oncology and the Department of Orthopedics at Louisiana State Medical Center (New Orleans, LA). Between 1994 and 1998, 12 patients (between 16 and 79 years of age) underwent a resection of the scapula. Eleven of these patients had soft tissue tumors; one had a metastasis from a thyroid carcinoma. Six of these patients underwent a scapulectomy as a primary treatment, five for recurrence. Six patients also received postoperative radiation and/or chemotherapy. The follow-up ranged from 6 months to 4 years. There was no mortality or wound infection associated with scapulectomy. All patients had normal hand and wrist function after surgery. Three distant recurrences occurred, with no local or regional failures encountered during the follow-up period. Scapulectomy can result in excellent local tumor control. Whereas some loss of active shoulder motion may occur, hand, wrist and elbow function is preserved. Although maintenance of shoulder function should not take precedence over adequacy of resection, scapulectomy remains an excellent procedure for malignant disease that preserves hand, wrist, and elbow function.


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