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Use of Distal Femoral Osteoarticular Allografts in Limb Salvage Surgery

Surgical Technique

Muscolo, D. Luis, MD1; Ayerza, Miguel A., MD1; Aponte-Tinao, Luis A., MD1; Ranalletta, Maximiliano, MD1

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00324
Surgical Techniques


As diagnostic and therapeutic techniques improve, patients with a musculoskeletal sarcoma should expect longer survival, fewer complications and side effects, and an improved quality of life. Functional longevity of the reconstruction after resection of the tumor becomes a major concern, especially in young and physically active patients. The purpose of this study was to analyze the mid-term and long-term survival of reconstructions with a distal femoral osteoarticular allograft in a series of patients.


We retrospectively reviewed the results of eighty reconstructions with a distal femoral osteoarticular allograft following resection of a bone tumor in seventy-six patients. The mean duration of follow-up was eighty-two months. The rates of survival of the allograft and the joint surface were estimated with use of the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox regression analysis was performed to determine whether age, gender, the percentage of the femur that had been resected, and the use of chemotherapy were independent prognostic factors. Functional and radiographic results were documented according to the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society scoring system at the time of the latest follow-up.


Five patients were lost to follow-up, leaving seventy-five allografts in seventy-one patients available for study. Thirteen patients (thirteen allografts) died of tumor-related causes without allograft failure before a two-year radiographic follow-up could be performed. Of the remaining sixty-two allografts, fourteen failed: six failed as a result of infection; four, because of local recurrence; one, because of massive resorption; and three, as a result of fracture. At the time of final follow-up, at a mean of 125 months, forty-eight allografts were still in place. The overall rate of allograft survival was 78% at both five and ten years, and the rate of allograft survival without the need for resurfacing with a knee prosthesis was 71% at both five and ten years. With the numbers available, age, gender, the percentage of the femur that had been resected, and the use of chemotherapy were not found to have a significant effect on the overall allograft survival rates. The patients who retained the original allograft had good or excellent functional and radiographic results.


The life expectancy for most patients with a highly aggressive or malignant tumor in the distal part of the femur is now several decades. In this study, we found a high rate of survival of distal femoral allograft reconstructions at both five and ten years.

1 Institute of Orthopedics “Carlos E. Ottolenghi,” Italian Hospital of Buenos Aires, Potosí 4215, 1199, Buenos Aires, Argentina. E-mail address for D.L. Muscolo:

Copyright © 2006 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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