Surgical margins and local control in resection of sacral chordomas

Pietro Ruggieri, Andrea Angelini, Giuseppe Ussia, Maurizio Montalti, Mario Mercuri

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Background: The treatment of choice in sacral chordoma is surgical resection, although the risk of local recurrence and metastasis remains high. The quality of surgical margins obtained at initial surgery is the primary factor to improve survival reducing the risk of local recurrence, but proximal sacral resections are associated with substantial perioperative morbidity. Questions/purposes: We considered survivorship related to local recurrence in terms of surgical margins, level of resection, and previous surgery. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 56 patients with sacral chordomas treated with surgical resection. Thirty-seven were resected above S3 by a combined anterior and posterior approach and 19 at or below S3 by a posterior approach. Nine of these had had previous intralesional surgery elsewhere. The minimum followup was 3 years (mean, 9.5 years; range, 3-28 years). Results: Overall survival was 97% at 5 years, 71% at 10 years, and 47% at 15 years. Survivorship to local recurrence was 65% at 5 years and 52% at 10 years. Thirty percent of patients developed metastases. Wide margins were associated with increased survivorship to local recurrence. We found no differences in local recurrence between wide and wide-contaminated margins (that is, if the tumor or its pseudocapsule was exposed intraoperatively, but further tissue was removed to achieve wide margins). Previous intralesional surgery was associated with an increased local recurrence rate. We observed no differences in the recurrence rate in resections above S3 or at and below S3. Conclusions: Surgical margins affect the risk of local recurrence. Previous intralesional surgery was associated with a higher rate of local recurrence. Intraoperative contamination did not affect the risk of local recurrence when wide margins were subsequently attained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2939-2947
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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