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Research: Is resection of tumours involving the pelvic ring justified? : A review of 49 consecutive cases

Alex Yuen13, Eugene T Ek13 and Peter FM Choong123*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, 3065, Victoria, Australia

2 Sarcoma Unit, Division of Surgical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne, Australia

3 Department of Surgery, St. Vincent's Hospital, 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, 3065, Victoria, Australia

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International Seminars in Surgical Oncology 2005, 2:9  doi:10.1186/1477-7800-2-9

Published: 9 April 2005



Pelvic surgery is challenging and impacts significantly on limb and visceral function, thus, raising the question "is heroic surgery justifiable". This study assessed the functional, oncologic and surgical outcomes following pelvis tumour resections.


Between 1996–2003, 49 patients (mean age 43 years) underwent pelvic tumour resections- 38 primary malignant tumours, 5 secondary tumours and 6 benign tumours. Bone tumours comprised 5 osteosarcomas, 5 Ewings sarcomas, and 12 chondrosarcomas. Of the soft tumours, 9 were of neural origin. Tumours involved the ilium, acetabulum, pubic bones, sacrum or a combination of these. Functional assessment was performed and no patient had metastases at presentation.


There were 41 limb sparing resections and 8 hindquarter amputations. Surgical margins were intralesional (1), marginal (13), wide (26), and radical (3). Of limb sparing surgery, prosthetic reconstructions were performed in 10 patients, biologic reconstructions in 6, a combination of these in 3 and no reconstruction in others. There was 1 intraoperative death, 7 local recurrences and 19 metastases. Death from disease occurred at a mean of 14.2 months with a mean followup of 27 (1–96) months. Amputation and periacetabular resections had worse functional outcomes. Emotional acceptance was surprisingly high.


Pelvic resections are complex. Functional outcome is significantly affected by surgery. Disease control is similar to limb tumours. Emotional acceptance of surgery in survivors was surprisingly high. Major pelvic resection for malignancy appears justified.