Treatment of Tibial Defects and Nonunions Using Ipsilateral Vascularized Fibular Transposition

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Eight patients had nine ipsilateral vascularized fibular transpositions (IVFTs) in the period 1978–1987. The procedure, which involves no microvascular anastomosis, was done for difficult problems of the tibia including two long-standing posttraumatic nonunions, three allograft nonunions after tumor surgery, and four segmental tibial defects also after tumor surgery. The average duration of problems before surgery was 3.5 years, and the patients averaged 3.1 procedures before IVFT. The patients were followed for an average of 52.4 months. The average time to union was 4.2 months, and in all patients the grafts healed within six months. Late fracture of the graft developed in two patients after fixation removal; one required an additional procedure, and both eventually healed. Ipsilateral vascularized fibular grafting is a useful alternative to conventional, nonvascularized grafts for difficult tibial nonunions and segmental defects. It offers the advantages of a vascularized graft (early healing and hypertrophy), yet avoids the time-consuming microvascular anastomosis and distant donor site morbidity of free fibular grafts.

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