Purpose: To determine whether elective calcinosis debulking surgery of the hands and/or upper extremities is a safe and effective treatment for painful symptomatic scleroderma. Our hypothesis was that calcinosis debulking surgery would result in improvement in patient-reported pain and range of motion (ROM) with relatively little postoperative surgical pain for scleroderma patients. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of scleroderma patients who underwent elective calcinosis debulking surgery by a single surgeon between August 2014 and August 2019. Patients were included if they had a documented diagnosis of limited or diffuse scleroderma and underwent elective or nonemergent hand or upper-extremity calcinosis debulking surgery with a minimum final follow-up of 12 months. Primary outcomes measured were preoperative to final follow-up changes in visual analog scale pain scores. Secondary outcomes were changes in numbness and ROM as well as in daily opioid requirements, postoperative opioids used to control surgical pain, and complications. Results: Thirty-nine patients underwent calcinosis debulking surgeries on 41 upper extremities. Median final follow-up was 22 months (range, 13–60 months). Significant decreases occurred in visual analog pain scores (preoperative median, 5 [range, 0–10); final follow-up median, 0 [range, 0–8]) and improved patient-reported ROM in 15% (no change, 85%; worse, 0%). There was no significant preoperative to final follow-up difference in patient-reported numbness (improved, 5%; no change, 85%; and worse, 10%). Thirteen patients incurred 17 complications. Conclusions: Elective calcinosis debulking surgery of the hands and/or upper extremities in scleroderma decreased pain scores, improved patient-reported ROM in 15% of patients, and had no effect on patient-reported numbness at final follow-up. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic IV.
- cytoreduction surgical procedures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine