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Transepiphyseal resection for osteosarcoma in patients with open physes using MRI assessment

safety and clinical outcomes

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For paediatric and adolescent patients with growth potential, preservation of the physiological joint by transepiphyseal resection (TER) of the femur confers definite advantages over arthroplasty procedures. We hypothesized that the extent of the tumour and changes in its extent after neoadjuvant chemotherapy are essential factors in the selection of this procedure, and can be assessed with MRI. The oncological and functional outcomes of the procedure were reviewed to confirm its safety and efficacy.


We retrospectively reviewed 16 patients (seven male and nine female, mean age 12.2 years (7 to 16)) with osteosarcoma of the knee who had been treated by TER. We evaluated the MRI scans before and after neoadjuvant chemotherapy for all patients to assess the extent of the disease and the response to treatment.


The mean follow-up period was 64.3 months (25 to 148) after surgery and no patients were lost to follow-up. On MRI evaluation, 13 tumours were near but not in contact with the physes and three tumours were partially in contact with the physes before neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Bone oedema in the epiphysis was observed in eight patients. After neoadjuvant chemotherapy, bone oedema in the epiphysis disappeared in all patients. In total, 11 tumours were not in contact and five tumours were in partial contact with the physes. The postoperative pathological margin was negative in all patients. At the last follow-up, 12 patients were continuously disease-free and three had no evidence of disease. One patient died due to the disease. Functionally, the patients with retained allograft or recycled autograft had a mean knee range of flexion of 126° (90° to 150°). The mean Musculoskeletal Tumor Society functional score was 27.6 (23 to 30).


TER is an effective limb-salvage technique for treating malignant metaphyseal bone tumours in paediatric and young osteosarcoma patients with open physes when a good response to chemotherapy and no progression of the tumour to the epiphysis have been confirmed by MRI.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(6):772–778.

Correspondence should be sent to Han-Soo Kim; E-mail:

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