Wound complications in the multimodality treatment of extremity and superficial truncal sarcomas
The incidence and severity of wound complications were examined in 105 patients with extremity and superficial truncal sarcomas who were eligible for wide local excision with or without adjuvant perioperative brachytherapy (BRT) and/or chemotherapy. Fifty-four cases from the eligible group were entered into a randomized prospective trial of the efficacy of BRT in decreasing local recurrence. In the eligible patients, major wound complications occurred in nine of 41 (22%) of the BRT cases, compared with two of 64 (3%) of the non-BRT patients, which was a significant increase (P = .002). The combined frequency of major and moderate wound complications was also significantly increased in the BRT (18 of 41, 44%) compared with the non-BRT (nine of 64, 14%) patients (P = .0006). The median duration to complete resolution of these complications was 189 days (14 to 597) in the BRT, compared with 49 (11 to 170) days in the non-BRT group (P = .0005); however, no amputations were required, and only 14% of the BRT-associated wound complications were of prolonged duration, ie, greater than 200 days. In the randomized study, both the total number of complications, and the combination of major and moderate complications were increased significantly in the BRT v the non-BRT patients. Adjuvant Adriamycin (Adria Laboratories, Columbus, OH) administered in 60 mg/m2 increments to a cumulative dose of 540 mg/m2 did not appear to impair wound healing even when administered within 15 days of operation. Significant wound complications occur in major resections of extremity and superficial truncal sarcomas. If the addition of adjuvant BRT produces a decrease in local recurrence, then either patient selection will have to be more rigidly applied, especially in wounds where skin flap blood supply is tenuous, or the technique will need to be modified to balance the short-term aim of reducing wound complications with the long-term goal of local tumor control.