Sciatic nerve reconstruction: Limb preservation after sarcoma resection

Marta Melendez, Keith Brandt, Gregory R.D. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Limb salvage for extremity sarcoma has become the standard of care when possible. This review attempts to determine the outcome of sciatic nerve reconstruction after surgical tumor resection. The authors' objective was to determine the clinical value of extremity salvage with such a defect. Five patients (two male, three female) were selected from a department database at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1995 and 1999 who met the following criteria: lower limb tumor resection involving a gap in the sciatic nerve with subsequent nerve autograft reconstruction. An additional patient who underwent primary sciatic nerve neurorrhaphy was also included. The average tumor size was 203 cm2. The most common tumor histology was spindle cell sarcoma. The average autograft length was 13 ± 3.2 cm with one to four cables employed. Currently, 3 patients are still alive. Four of the 5 patients who received sciatic autonerve grafts reported partial distal sensory recovery subjectively. The patient who underwent primary neurorrhaphy has both motor and sensory innervation 42 months after surgery. Although not ideal for all patients, sciatic nerve reconstruction is a viable option for those willing to undergo limb preservation. Notable limitations to daily activity do not appear to be present, and patients are able to ambulate with or without assistive devices. With aggressive rehabilitation, some patients are able to function quite well with this bioprosthesis. Patients should consider, however, that their extremity is on loan. Substantial wound complications or infections may ultimately lead to amputation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


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