Twenty-two lower extremity osteocutaneous defects resulting from high-energy trauma were managed from the onset of injury to rehabilitation by a collaborative effort between orthopedic and plastic surgeons. Emergency debridement of devitalized soft tissue and bone, external fracture stabilization, and serial debridements prepared the wound for closure with predominantly free-muscle transfers performed an average of 17 days (range 3 to 43 days) after injury. Cancellous or vascularized fibula grafting, depending on defect size, was performed an average of 9 weeks (range 6 to 16 weeks) after muscle flap closure. In this group of patients, whose average injury severity score was 18 (range 9 to 45) and whose average segmental bone defect was 8 cm (range 3 to 18 cm), the average time after injury to full weight bearing was 61 weeks (range 39 to 120 weeks). The early infection rate was 14 percent. Two extremities were amputated. There have been no chronic infections. Follow-up has ranged from 9 to 34 months.
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