Sarcoma Surgery

Surgical Associates of Marshall County offer surgical care for soft tissue sarcomas in Albertville and Guntersville.

When cancerous tumors occur in the soft tissues that support or connect parts of the body they are referred to as soft tissue sarcomas. In many cases, soft tissue sarcomas can be surgically removed along with some of the surrounding tissue. At Surgical Associates of Marshall County, we offer sarcoma surgery with experienced surgeons to give you the most effective options in treating this condition.

What is a Soft Tissue Sarcoma?

Soft tissue sarcomas are malignant growths that originate in the tissues that surround and connect other organs and structures of the body. Soft tissues include:

  • Fat
  • Nerves
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Blood vessels
  • Joint linings (synovial tissues)

Though soft tissue sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body, they are most common in the extremities (arms, legs, hands, feet, buttocks) and gastrointestinal system. They may less frequently occur in the abdomen, chest, head and neck.

Soft tissue sarcomas are relatively rare, but can be dangerous, especially if left unnoticed until the disease approaches its later stages. Noticeable symptoms are unlikely during the initial stages of soft tissue sarcoma, but may appear as the tumor grows. Potential symptoms include:

  • Gastrointestinal blockage or bleeding (when a sarcoma affects the digestive tract or abdomen)
  • Pain (when a sarcoma puts pressure on a muscle or nerve)
  • A visible lump or bulge

The form of treatment for soft tissue sarcoma depends largely on the area and extent of the sarcoma. Surgical removal is the most common form of treatment for soft tissue sarcoma and can be especially effective when cancerous cells have not spread beyond the site of the sarcoma. When possible, sarcoma surgery is performed with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical techniques that maximize safety and minimize recovery time and discomfort.

Surgical Care for Soft Tissue Sarcomas

During sarcoma surgery, your surgeon will remove the cancer as well as a small portion of the normal tissue that surrounds it. Typically, less than an inch of healthy tissue is removed. The removed tissue will be examined to determine whether it has:

  • Positive margins. Cancer is present at the edges of the specimen, indicating a need for additional treatments to address the cancer cells that remain.
  • Negative margins. Cancer is not present at the edges of the specimen, making the likelihood of recurrence much lower.

If a soft tissue sarcoma is present on the arms or legs, your surgeon will make a great effort to perform limb-sparing surgery. This allows the tumor to be removed without amputation. If removing the limb is the only way to completely eliminate cancer, or if removing a soft tissue sarcoma would result in chronic pain or severely limited limb functionality, amputation may be necessary.

In addition to sarcoma surgery, your surgeon may recommend chemotherapy or radiation therapy. When used before surgery, these treatments can reduce the size of the tumor to make it easier to remove; when used after, they can help to prevent recurrence.

To learn more about sarcoma surgery at Surgical Associates of Marshall County, please call 256-840-5547 (Albertville) or 256-571-8734 (Guntersville) or complete our online contact form.