Assessment of patient function after limb-sparing surgery

Richard A. Frieden, Donna Ryniker, Samuel Kenan, Michael M. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cancer rehabilitation is becoming more of a focus for the field of physiatry due to increased longevity and the side effects of treatment. In order to investigate the rehabilitation needs of patients undergoing limb-sparing procedures, chart analysis was conducted on 17 children treated for primary bone tumors by resection and an expandable endoprosthetic replacement. Each patient underwent a course of postoperative inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and was followed over an average of 2.5 years. Gait training was relatively straightforward and in seven patients required neither orthosis nor ambulatory aid. The other ten patients walked with a knee orthosis, axillary crutches, or both. Until the time came for reoperation to lengthen the implant, a shoe lift of 1in maximum was added to compensate for the limb length discrepancy. These findings compare favorably with the more complex requirements of high proximal amputees with external prostheses, including more difficult gait training and the need for frequent adjustments, as well as prosthetic replacement as the children grow. It is clear that children undergoing limb-sparing surgery have special needs that should be addressed, including early mobilization, gait training, adjustment to repeated brief hospitalizations for lengthening, and continued follow-up to monitor their activity restriction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1993


  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • Knee prosthesis
  • Osteogenic sarcoma
  • Outcome assessment


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