2008, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 295 – 306

Osteoarticular reconstructive surgery in malignant bone tumors: The importance of external fixators


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Authors and Affiliations

Correspondence to: Gheorghe Burnei M.D., Ph.D. Brancoveanu 20, Bucharest, Romania


This paper is a retrospective study on 8 patients admitted and treated in Paediatric Surgery and Orthopaedics Clinic of “M. S. Curie” Hospital Bucharest between 1997 and 2007.

The patients with malignant bone tumors (table 1.) were studied by sex, tumor type, location, age at the moment of diagnosis, age at the moment of the last evaluation, type of surgery, external fixator implanted, complications, results and survival period. We also considered for each patient the extent of the tumor to diaphysis, soft tissue involvement, involvement of physis and epiphyseal invasion, articular extent, vessels and nerves invasion, presence of metastases and local skin invasion. The certain diagnosis was based on pathological anatomy exam, because clinical and imagistic data were not decisive in each case.

There were studied only those patients who received external fixators, the only method to achieve oncological safe resection and osteoarticular recontruction. We used monoplanar or circular fixators, in adjustable or mixed mountings.

The postoperative complications were not fatal. The survival period has been between 6 months and 18 years. Only two patients, who have survived 6 months and respectively 18 months, were not able to return to prior activities. The other six were reinserted in social activities.

Nowadays, there is made a great effort to save the affected limbs. The conservative treatment is preferred to the amputation, which is being used in very few cases. The development of reconstructive bone surgery is sustained by the possibility to delineate the tumor by diagnosis based on imaging and by the possibility to use modern preoperative and postoperative chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Limb conservation was possible only in aggressive benign tumors up to 1970. Since then the same treatment was preferred also in malignant bone tumors, because the relapse appeared as frequent as in cases with amputation but the physical and psychological comfort made the patients to accept it readily.

The goal of malignant bone tumors treatment is to save the life of the patient, to preserve the affected limb, to maintain the length and function of the limb.

Oncologic surgery consists of “en bloc” tumor resection followed by bone reconstruction or modular prosthetic replacement. Modular prosthetic replacement leads to the loss of at least one growing cartilage. The use of radiotherapy in some cases may also affect other growing cartilages, leading to limb length discrepancies.


About this article

PMC ID: 5654299
PubMed ID: 20108507

Article Publishing Date (print): 15-08-2008
Available Online: 

Journal information

ISSN Printing: 1844-122X
ISSN Online: 1844-3117
Journal Title: Journal of Medicine and Life

Copyright: © 2020 Carol Davila University Press. Romania

Copyright License: Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.