Soft tissue and bony tumors of the pelvis are rare, but when they occur, treatment presents both an oncologic surgical and a reconstructive challenge. After reconstruction, soft tissue defects can be large and there is usually exposed bone and/or joint. A retroperitoneal abdominal wall defect may also be present. Flap mobilization is generally necessary to eliminate dead space and cover the exposed bone, viscera, and/or prosthetic orthopedic material. We performed immediate reconstruction on 11 patients after radical pelvic resections for tumor.
Patients and Methods:
Eleven cases of radical pelvic resection and immediate reconstruction were identified during the period from 1992 to 2002 at University Hospital, Newark, New Jersey. All patients were treated by both the orthopedic oncology and plastic surgery teams. A retrospective review of office charts and hospital records was performed. Data were gathered regarding the following: tumor type and oncologic history, extent of resection, reconstructive modality, complications, and outcome.
All patients underwent radical resection of pelvic masses depending on the tumor type and location. Tumor types included chondrosarcoma (6), Paget osteosarcoma (1), giant cell tumor (1), metastatic uterine carcinoma (2), and invasive squamous cell carcinoma arising in a chronic decubitus ulcer (1). The reconstructive procedures performed were the following: rectus abdominus flaps (6), gluteus maximus musculocutaneous flaps (3), and thigh fillet flaps (2). The retroperitoneal defects were repaired with primary tissue approximation of the surrounding available musculature. Additionally, Gore-Tex mesh was used in 2 cases, tensor fascia lata was used in 2 cases, and acellular dermal matrix in 1 case. Blood loss for the combined procedures ranged from 400 mL to 1400 mL. The follow-up period in this series ranged from 24 to 114 months. Complications included skin flap loss with subsequent infection (1), local cellulitis controlled with antibiotics (1), regional recurrence (2). The postoperative course was uneventful for the remainder of the cases.
Soft tissue reconstructions after extensive pelvic resections always present as complex reconstructive problems. Reconstruction is dictated by the size of the defects and by tissue availability. The extent and type of resections vary according to tumor size and location. In our experience, local pedicled muscle-based flaps, if available, usually provide adequate tissue mass to eliminate dead space, cover the extent of the wound, and close the retroperitoneal defect. Microvascular tissue transfer is always an option but was reserved in our series for cases with no suitable local alternative.