Intercalary spacers in the treatment of segmentally destructive diaphyseal humeral lesions in disseminated malignancies

Timothy A. Damron, Franklin H. Sim, Thomas C. Shives, Kai N. An, Michael G. Rock, Douglas J. Pritchard

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62 Scopus citations


During a 10-year period, 17 patients with segmentally destructive bone lesions of the humeral diaphysis in disseminated malignancies resulting in impending fracture (8 patients), pathologic fracture (6 patients), or failure of attempted internal fixation techniques (3 patients) were treated with resection of the involved diaphyseal segment and reconstruction with a cemented modular intercalary humeral spacer. Fourteen patients bad metastatic cancer, 2 had multiple myeloma, and 1 had lymphoma. Breast and renal carcinoma were the most common pathologic diagnoses. The involved site was within the middle 1/3 in 8 patients, in the proximal-middle junction in 5, in the middle-distal junction in 2, and within the proximal and distal 1/3 in 1 patient each. Early pain relief was successful in 88% of patients. Early in the postoperative hospital course, patients generally were able to use the ipsilateral hand to assist feeding. Radiographic analysis revealed that the limited selection of stem lengths led to 76% of the distal stems and 47% of the proximal stems being shorter than the ideal length. The complication rate independent of disease progression was 29%. The most common complication was temporary radial nerve injury (3 patients). There were 3 implant failures, most commonly due to disengagement of the male-female junction. Two periprosthetic fractures occurred, 1 proximally (due to tumor progression) and 1 distally. Suggestions are given for modification of the implants to improve the major problems of limited versatility in intramedullary stem length and inadequate mating at the junction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number324
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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