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05.12.2018 | Original Article • TUMORS - MICROSURGERY

Microsurgical reconstruction with vascularized fibula and massive bone allograft for bone tumors

European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology
Costantino Errani, Massimo Ceruso, Davide Maria Donati, Marco Manfrini



Combining massive bone allograft and vascularized fibula in intercalary reconstruction following resection of bone tumors represents a complex reconstructive procedure that requires specialists in microvascular surgery as well as orthopedic surgery. The purpose of our study was to examine the outcomes using this surgical technique in patients with bone tumors in terms of oncologic results, complications related to surgery, Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) scores and duration of surgery.

Materials and methods

We analyzed 81 patients with femoral or tibial sarcomas who underwent intercalary resection and microsurgical reconstruction with massive bone allograft and vascularized fibula. There were 56 boys and 25 girls with a mean age of 13.4 years at the time of surgery. The patients’ medical records were reviewed for clinical and functional outcomes as well as postoperative complications. The study group was comprised of 33 patients who underwent reconstruction of the femur with massive bone allograft and free vascularized fibula and 48 patients who underwent reconstruction of the tibia with massive bone allograft and free or pedicle vascularized fibula. The mean length of resection was 15.9 cm (8–31 cm). The functional evaluation of the patients was done at the end of the follow-up using MSTS score for the lower limb. All patients had at least a 2-year follow-up.


The overall limb salvage rate was 94%, although many patients required re-operation after the procedure. Complications occurred in 24 patients, 18 of which underwent additional surgical procedures. They included fractures of the massive bone allograft-vascularized fibula construct with or without implant failure (19) and deep infection (5). After surgical or conservative treatment, all the fractures successfully healed. The overall MSTS functional score was good to excellent in 91% of patients.


The combination of massive bone allograft and vascularized fibula seems to be a reasonable option for reconstruction of diaphyseal defects following intercalary resection of bone tumors. Although there was a high rate of complications and therefore re-operations, the biology of vascularized fibula was able to save the reconstruction in most of the cases that had complications.

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