Background: Soft-tissue tumors of the foot and ankle are relatively common and mostly benign. Thus, many malignant tumors in this region are improperly treated initially. Unplanned excisions can lead to complications that may adversely affect patient outcomes and prognosis. Methods: A retrospective review of patients treated at our institute over a 20-year period for malignant soft-tissue tumors of the foot and ankle was performed. The effect of unplanned surgical excisions on outcomes was examined. Results: When limb salvage was attempted, patients who underwent unplanned surgical excisions had more complications and more extensive surgical procedures involving free flaps, and they were more likely to require a djuvant radiotherapy No difference in recurrence and disease-free survival was evident between the two patient populations. Conclusions: Despite the lack of statistical power to demonstrate differences in recurrence and survival, unplanned surgical excisions of soft-tissue sarcomas of the foot and ankle probably adversely affect quality of patient care. Suspicious lesions should be referred to surgeons trained in oncologic principles for evaluation and treatment.
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