Soft tissue sarcomas are often inappropriately excised without adequate preoperative planning. Inappropriate (unplanned) excisions may adversely affect local recurrence, distant metastasis, patient survival, and /or postoperative function once properly evaluated.

We asked whether the clinical and treatment characteristics, survival (overall, local recurrence-free, distant metastasis-free), and functional scores of patients with unplanned excisions differ from those with a planned excision.

We retrospectively reviewed 128 patients with planned excisions and 63 patients with unplanned excisions at prereferral hospitals followed by additional reexcisions. We determined whether age, gender, tumor size, depth, histologic grade, operative duration, blood loss, survival, or functional scores differed between the two groups. The minimum followup was 6 months (mean, 55 months; range, 6-275 months).

The tumor was larger and its location deeper in the planned excision group. Overall, metastasis-free, and local recurrence-free survival were similar in the two groups: 86%, 71%, and 85% in the planned excision group and 96%, 86%, and 92% in the unplanned excision group, respectively. However, additional soft tissue reconstruction was more often necessary for patients with unplanned excisions. No difference in postoperative function was observed.

The data suggest an adequate additional wide excision may improve the local control and survival in patients with an unplanned excision as well as the patients with a planned excision. While patients with unplanned excisions had superficial and smaller tumors, survival and postoperative function were similar to those with planned excisions.

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