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Treatment of giant-cell tumors of long bones with curettage and bone-grafting.

BACKGROUND: The use of curettage, phenol, and cement is accepted by most experts as the best treatment for giant-cell tumor of bone. The present study was performed to evaluate whether equivalent results could be obtained with curettage with use of a high-speed burr and reconstruction of the resulting defect with autogenous bone graft with or without allograft bone.

METHODS: The prospectively collected records of patients who had a giant-cell tumor of a long bone were reviewed to determine the rate of local recurrence after treatment with curettage with use of a high-speed burr and reconstruction with autogenous bone graft with or without allograft bone. All of the patients were followed clinically and radiographically, and a biopsy was performed if there were any suspicious changes.

RESULTS: Fifty-nine patients met the criteria for inclusion in the study. According to the grading system of Campanacci et al., two patients (3 percent) had a grade-I tumor, twenty-nine (49 percent) had a grade-II tumor, and twenty-eight (47 percent) had a grade-III tumor. Seventeen patients (29 percent) had a pathological fracture at the time of presentation. The mean duration of follow-up was eighty months (range, twenty-eight to 132 months). Seven patients (12 percent) had a local recurrence. Six of these seven were disease-free at the latest follow-up examination after at least one additional treatment with curettage or soft-tissue resection (one patient). One patient had resection and reconstruction with a prosthesis after a massive local recurrence and pulmonary metastases.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the high rates of recurrence reported in the literature after treatment of giant-cell tumor with curettage and bone-grafting, the results of the present study suggest that the risk of local recurrence after curettage with a high-speed burr and reconstruction with autogenous graft with or without allograft bone is similar to that observed after use of cement and other adjuvant treatment. It is likely that the adequacy of the removal of the tumor rather than the use of adjuvant modalities is what determines the risk of recurrence.

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