Lateral femoral condyle flap: An alternative source of vascularized bone from the distal femur

Victor W. Wong, Heinz K. Bürger, Matthew L. Iorio, James P. Higgins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose To elucidate the vascular anatomy of the superolateral geniculate artery (SLGA) and its supply to the periosteum of the lateral femoral condyle (LFC) and to provide guidelines for flap design and describe an illustrative case. Methods Thirty-one fresh cadaveric limbs were dissected. The vascular anatomy of the SLGA and its distal branches to skin, muscle, and periosteum were identified. Fluoroscopic images were taken during continuous perfusion of a radiopaque contrast dye into the SLGA. Intra-arterial injections of latex rubber were performed in 12 cadaver limbs. The vascular territory was traced from the SLGA to its distal branches, and surrounding soft tissues were dissected. Results The SLGA originated from the popliteal artery 4.9 ± 1.2 cm (range, 2.8-7 cm) from the knee joint and its pedicle diameter was 1.8 ± 0.5 mm (range, 1-3 mm). SGLA pedicle-specific fluoroscopic angiography demonstrated a dense filigree of vessels over the lateral distal femur. Arterial latex injections confirmed that the SLGA supplied the periosteum of the LFC and distal femur shaft. The proximal-most extent of periosteal perfusion was 11.7 ± 2.1 cm (range, 9.3-14.1 cm) from the knee joint. The average pedicle length of LFC osteoperiosteal flaps was 4.8 ± 0.9 cm (range, 3.5-6.3 cm). Conclusions The LFC flap consistently demonstrated almost 12 cm of femur length perfusion based on the SLGA pedicle. The anatomy of this flap enables chimeric designs combining soft tissue, bone, and cartilage. Clinical relevance The vascularized LFC flap is an option for reconstruction of osseous defects of the upper extremity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1972-1980
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Lateral femoral condyle
  • nonunion
  • vascularized bone flap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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