BACKGROUND: The standard treatment for primary bone sarcomas of the extremities has become chemotherapy and limb salvage surgery. However, the difficulties in achieving reliable long-term healing with allograft reconstruction have led us to use vascularized fibula transfer to enhance healing. METHODS: From 1992 to 2003, 14 vascularized fibula transfers were performed at our institution for bone reconstruction in 12 patients with bone sarcoma. Free vascularized fibula transfers were performed in 13 cases, and a pedicled vascularized fibula transfer in one case. The mean age was 25 years (range, 6 to 71 years). Locations included the femur (n = 10), humerus (n = 1), and tibia (n = 3). The mean length of the vascularized fibula transfer was 17.4 cm (range, 10 to 24 cm). Indications for use of a vascularized fibula transfer included allograft nonunion (n = 8), and primary diaphyseal bone defect reconstruction combined with an intercalary allograft (n = 6). For all allograft nonunions, a vascularized fibula transfer was used with an onlay technique. For segmental bone defects, an intramedullary technique was used in three cases and an onlay technique in two cases. RESULTS: The overall mean time for bone union after a vascularized fibula transfer was 8.6 months (range, 3 to 24 months): 10 months (range, 5 to 24 months) for patients with allograft nonunions, and 6 months (range, 3 to 8 months) for patients who underwent immediate segmental bone reconstruction. All but one patient had successful bone union. One patient with persistent nonunion required a second vascularized fibula transfer. The mean time from initial limb salvage surgery to full use of the reconstructed limb without restrictions was 28 months (range, 13 to 45 months) for patients treated with a delayed vascularized fibula transfer for an allograft nonunion and 6 months (range, 3 to 8 months) for patients who underwent immediate reconstruction with a vascularized fibula transfer combined with an allograft. CONCLUSIONS: The use of a vascularized fibula transfer combined with an intercalary allograft to reconstruct bone defects after tumor resection can prevent allograft nonunion and result in decreased time to bone healing, leading to earlier patient recovery and return of function.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Plastic and reconstructive surgery|
|State||Published - Dec 2005|
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