Metastatic bone disease of the extremities is a notable cause of morbidity and mortality. Surgical management is not curative; therefore, risks and benefits of surgery must be carefully considered. Previous studies of surgical outcomes are limited by small sample sizes because of the rare incidence of these procedures. In this study, we aim to describe the rates of complications and mortality in the first 30 days after surgical treatment of metastatic bone disease of the femur and humerus.
A retrospective review of patients in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database who underwent surgery between 2005 and 2016 was performed. Demographics, comorbidities, preoperative factors, surgical parameters, and postoperative complications were extracted. The cohort was also partitioned by surgical site and surgical modality.
One thousand one hundred fifty-four patients were identified, 13.1 percent of patients experienced one or more complications within 30 days of surgery. The most common complications were urinary tract infection (2.9%), deep vein thrombosis (2.5%), pneumonia (2.4%), pulmonary embolism (2.0%), and surgical site infections (1.9%). In addition, intraoperative or postoperative bleeding requiring transfusion occurred in 32.9% of cases. The rates of unplanned readmission and unplanned revision surgery were 12.7% and 4.1%, respectively. The 30-day mortality rate was 7.1%. Femur and arthroplasty cases were associated with a higher risk of bleeding requiring transfusion. Prophylactic stabilization was associated with a lower risk of unplanned revision surgery (P = 0.015) and a lower overall complication rate (P < 0.0001).
Our study demonstrates a higher 30-day mortality rate than previously reported. In additon, prophylactic stabilization of impending pathologic fractures may be associated with a lower risk of complications and unplanned revision surgery. The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program or other large database reports can help surgeons counsel patients appropriately regarding the risks and benefits of surgery.