Scientific Article   |    
Treatment of Segmental Defects of the Humerus with an Osteoseptocutaneous Fibular Transplant
C. Heitmann, MD; D. Erdmann, MD; L. S. Levin, MD
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Investigation performed at the Divisions of Orthopaedics and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina

C. Heitmann, MD
D. Erdmann, MD
L.S. Levin, MD
Division of Plastic, Reconstructive, Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3945, Durham, NC 27710. E-mail address for L.S. Levin: levin001@mc.duke.edu

The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002 Dec 01;84(12):2216-2223
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Background: There are limited reconstructive options for the treatment of segmental bone defects of the upper extremity that are >6 cm in length, especially those that are associated with soft-tissue defects. The purpose of the present review was to report on our experience with fifteen patients who received an osteoseptocutaneous fibular transplant for reconstruction of a humeral defect.

Methods: The study cohort included eight male patients and seven female patients with an average age of forty-one years. The indications for the procedure included segmental nonunion (nine patients), a gunshot wound (three), a defect at the site of a tumor resection (two), and failure of an allograft-prosthesis reconstruction (one). The fibular graft was fixed by means of intramedullary impaction in eleven patients, was used as an onlay graft in three, and was used as a strut between the intact diaphysis and the humeral head in one.

Results: The average length of the segmental humeral defect was 9.3 cm. The average length of the fibular graft was 16.1 cm, and the average length and width of the skin paddle were 8.1 and 4.5 cm. The average duration of follow-up was twenty-four months. Three patients had venous thrombosis and underwent a successful revision of the anastomosis. Four patients had early failure of graft fixation. Three patients had a fracture of the fibular graft within the first year postoperatively. All but one of these latter seven patients were successfully treated with open reduction, internal fixation, and additional bone-grafting. One patient with an infection at the site of a nonunion and signs of graft resorption required a second fibular transplant.

Conclusions: The osteoseptocutaneous fibular transplant is an effective treatment for combined segmental osseous and soft-tissue defects of the arm. However, the application of this technique to the arm is more complex than application to the forearm and is associated with a higher rate of complications.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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