Salvage of infected proximal tibial tumour prosthesis using vacuum assisted closure (VAC) in seven patients

Navin Balasubramanian, Sindhuja P.


Background: Proximal tibia is the second most common site for both benign and malignant bone tumours. The treatment protocols of such tumours have seen a paradigm shift from amputation towards limb salvage. Limb salvage has been possible with resection and reconstruction using custom modular prosthesis but the risk of tumour recurrence and infection still looms large.

Methods: Here we present our series of seven patients with infected proximal tibial tumour prosthesis which were salvaged using vacuum assisted closure (VAC) dressing. The indications for surgery were recurrent giant cell tumour (4 cases), chondrosarcoma (2 cases) and osteosarcoma (one patient). The prosthesis used was the limb preservation system (LPS) [Depuy-Synthes, US]. There were 6 males (M:F 6:1) with average age of 34.23 years. The predominant organism cultured was Staph aureus. We proceeded with radical wound debridement and VAC dressing with continuous negative pressure drainage for an average of 18 days (range 12-24 days). The patients then underwent secondary suturing and delayed suture removal (18-21 days).

Results: All 7 patients were well at 8 months follow-up with no recurrent or persistent infection with good functional outcome. The average knee society score (KSS) was 73 (good).

Conclusions: We conclude that with early thorough radical debridement and with select bacteriological culture profile, VAC is a valuable tool in the salvage of infected tumour prosthesis. This may reduce the need for amputations of such infected limbs by a significant margin while still retaining good functional outcome.


Custom modular prosthesis, Limb preservation system, Vacuum assisted closure dressing, Knee society

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