Objective: Soft-tissue sarcomas are most frequently located deep within myofascial compartments. Superficial soft-tissue sarcomas (S-STS) are relatively less common and may be managed differently than deep sarcomas because generous resection margins are often possible without sacrificing critical structures. We sought to investigate the frequency and types of soft-tissue reconstructive procedures that are required following excision of S-STS.

Methods: We reviewed 457 consecutively treated patients with S-STS with a minimum 2-year follow-up from our prospectively maintained database between 1989 and 2009.

Results: Mean follow-up was 10.5 years (range, 2–23). Four hundred twenty-one tumors (91%) were excised with negative margins, 38 (8.3%) had microscopically positive margins, and three (0.7%) had grossly positive margins. One patient required an amputation. In 271 (58%) patients, the wounds were closed primarily. In comparison, 93 patients (20%) required a rotation flap, 70 (15%) required a split-thickness skin graft, and 23 (5%) underwent a free tissue transfer (ie, advanced reconstructive procedure). The overall complication rate was 12%, although 43% of patients undergoing free tissue transfer developed complications (P = 0.04). An unplanned excision before referral to our center was a risk factor for local recurrence (P = 0.03) when residual tumor was recovered in the reexcision specimen pathologically.

Conclusions: Although concern about the morbidity associated with a free tissue transfer (ie, advanced reconstructive procedure) may potentially limit the adequacy of resection in some patients with S-STS, the results of this study showed that the majority of patients had complete excisions with negative margins and primary closure. Obtaining a negative margin when excising a known or suspected S-STS rarely requires an advanced reconstructive procedure and almost never results in loss of limb.

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Published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery - Global Open, v. 5, issue 11, p. 1-5.

© 2017 The Authors.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

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