Flap reconstruction does not increase complication rates following surgical resection of extremity soft tissue sarcoma

Jelena Slump, Stefan O. P. Hofer, Peter C. Ferguson, Jay S. Wunder, Anthony M. Griffin, Harald J. Hoekstra, Esther Bastiaannet, Anne C. O'Neill*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Flap reconstruction plays an essential role in the surgical management of extremity soft tissue sarcoma (ESTS) for many patients. But flaps increase the duration and complexity of the surgery and their contribution to overall morbidity is unclear. This study directly compares the complication rates in patients with ESTS undergoing either flap reconstruction or primary wound closure and explores contributing factors.

    Methods: Eight hundred and ninety-seven patients who underwent ESTS resection followed by primary closure (631) or flap reconstruction (266) were included in this study. Data on patient, tumour and treatment variables and post-operative medical and surgical complications were collected. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify independent predictors of complications.

    Results: Post-operative complications occurred in 33% of patients. Flap patients were significantly older, had more advanced disease and were more likely to require neoadjuvant chemo- and radiotherapy. There was no significant difference in complication rates following flap reconstruction compared to primary closure on multivariate analysis (38 vs 30.9% OR 1.12, CI 0.77-1.64, p = 0.53). Pre-operative radiation and distal lower extremity tumour location were significant risk factors in patients who underwent primary wound closure but not in those who had flap reconstruction. Patients with comorbidities, increased BMI and systemic disease were at increased risk of complications following flap reconstruction.

    Conclusions: Flap reconstruction is not associated with increased post-operative complications following ESTS resection. Flaps may mitigate the effects of some risk factors in selected patients. (C) 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-259
    Number of pages9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb-2018


    • Soft tissue sarcoma
    • Flap reconstruction
    • Complications
    • LIMB

    Cite this