Limb sparing surgery (LSS) is a special operative procedure performed by oncology orthopedic surgeons and has become the accepted standard of care for patients with sarcomas of the extremities. The cancer in the bone is removed and replaced with a prosthesis, allograft bone, or allograft-prothetic combination. They are metallic devices designed to replace the diseased bones and joints which are removed during surgery. The prosthesis is fixed to the remaining bones with bone cement or the bone grows into the prosthesis.
Even though the salvaged extremity looks and moves in a near-normal manner, function rarely returns to 100% normal. Common causes of prosthesis failure include infection, aseptic loosening, bone resorbtion and fracture. Regular follow-up for several years is very important after treatment for bone or soft tissue cancer. Regular check-ups will include physical exams, x-rays, scans, blood tests and other laboratory tests. Patients who have limb salvage operations with joint replacements will require physical therapy to help regain optimal use of their operated limb. Patients with amputations will also require physical therapy with prosthetic training.