Unplanned excisions of soft tissue sarcomas occur with alarming frequency and result in high rates of residual disease, potentially affecting patient prognosis. To determine if unplanned excisions and residual disease status at tumor bed excision increased local recurrence rates and predicted disease-specific patient survival, we retrospectively reviewed 203 consecutive patients with high-grade soft tissue sarcomas treated operatively and followed for at least 2 years (mean, 4.8 years) or until patient death. Among the 64 patients (32%) who had undergone previous unplanned excisions, six had gross residual disease and 40 of the remaining 58 (69%) had microscopic residual disease in the tumor bed. We observed subsequent local recurrence in nine of the 139 patients (6%) after planned excision compared with 22 patients (34%) after unplanned excision. More patients with unplanned excisions who underwent limb salvage procedures required flap coverage and/or skin grafting with their definitive resection (30% versus 5%). In the unplanned excision cohort, residual disease status at tumor bed excision predicted increased rates of local recurrence and decreased disease-specific survival. Unplanned excisions of high-grade soft tissue sarcomas resulted in increased rates of local recurrence but not disease-specific survival. Residual disease at reexcision predicted the likelihood of local recurrence. Level of Evidence: Level II, prognostic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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