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dr james c wittig, orthopedic oncologist, new york, new jersey
A limb sparing surgery is also called a resection. Resections are usually performed for malignant tumors and very large benign agressive tumors that have destroyed almost the entire bone. A radical resection is typically performed for high grade tumors. Limb sparing surgery can be performed for approximately 95% of malignant bone tumors. With a resection, the tumor is removed with the bone (or part of the bone) and usually the adjacent joint. The bone and joint must be restored. This part of the procedure is called a reconstruction. Usually a metal prosthesis (replica of the bone and joint) is used to restore (reconstruct) the bony and joint deficiency. Metal prostheses restore the patient to good function rapidly and are associated with few short term complications (ie. Infections) so that chemotherapy can be resumed promptly after surgery (few complications to delay chemotherapy if the type of tumor being treated requires chemotherapy). Ninety to 99% of prostheses last 10 years depending upon the anatomic site in which they are placed.An amputation refers to removal of the entire extremity without replacing it. There are several different types of amputations. The name given to the type of amputation depends upon how much of the limb is removed.
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