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Prosthetic joint replacement for long bone metastases: analysis of 154 cases.

INTRODUCTION: Metastatic bone disease is the most common cause of malignancies to the skeleton in adults. The treatment of bone metastases is frequently palliative aiming to achieve a satisfactory control of pain and to prevent or to treat pathological fractures. In selected cases the resection of a single bone metastasis may improve the survival of the patients. Our experience with bone metastases located in the appendicular skeleton, between 1992 and 2004, is retrospectively reviewed here.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We report a series of 154 patients (95 females and 59 males) treated with prosthesis for metastatic bone disease. Lower limb localization was more frequent with 117 cases, while upper limb was affected in 37 cases. Metastatic breast and renal carcinoma predominated and accounted for 66% of the lesions. Indications to surgery were reported, oncologic outcome was evaluated and functional results were obtained by the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society scoring system.

RESULTS: Follow up ranged from 6 months to 12 years (median 26 months). One-year survival was 69.5%, 2-years survival was 44.8%, 5-years survival was 19.5%; and 5 (3.2%) died in the early post surgical period. Functional results were good or higher in 73.8% of patients for the proximal femur, in 50% of patients for the knee and 30.6% of patients for the proximal humerus.

CONCLUSION: In this series, satisfactory results were achieved with few complications. We emphasized the importance of giving the patient a definitive treatment and preventing pathological fractures as they determine disability and a spreading of the tumor in the soft tissues, leading to an increased probability of local recurrence. Prosthetic replacement contributes to an improved quality of life and limb functionality and, in selected cases; this radical surgical approach is indicated as it may improve patient's life expectancy.

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