This study aimed to present the results of a series of forequarter amputations (FQAs) and to evaluate the reconstructive methods used.
Summary Background Data
Although FQA has become a rare procedure in the era of limb-sparing treatment of extremity malignancies, it is a useful option when resection of a shoulder girdle or proximal upper extremity tumor cannot be performed so as to retain a functional limb.
Thirty-four patients were treated with FQA in 1989 to 2017. Various reconstructive techniques were used, including free fillet flaps from the amputated extremity.
All patients presented with intractable symptoms such as severe pain, motor or sensory deficit, or limb edema. Seventeen patients were treated with palliative intent. Chest wall resection was performed in 9 patients. Free flap reconstruction was necessary for 15 patients, with 11 free flaps harvested from the amputated extremity. There was no operative mortality, and no free flaps were lost. In curatively treated patients, estimated 5-year disease-specific survival was 60%. Median survival in the palliatively treated group was 13 months (1–35 months).
Limb-sparing treatment is preferable for most shoulder girdle and proximal upper extremity tumors. Sometimes, FQA is the only option enabling curative treatment. In palliative indications, considerable disease-free intervals and relief from disabling symptoms can be achieved. The extensive tissue defects caused by extended FQA can be safely and reliably reconstructed by means of free flaps, preferably harvested from the amputated extremity.