Single-cortex is better than double-cortex in fibula grafts for large tibia bone defect in a 2-year-old child: A case report of a successful surgery and discussion of bone graft choices

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Large bone defect in infant or small patients has been little reported and the management of such a patient is difficult. Considering the little knowledge of this area, we present this special case of a successful single-cortex fibula graft for the treatment of a large tibia bone defect in a 2-year-old patient to share our experience.

Case summary:

A 2-year-old male patient presented to our hospital with history of leg pain for 4 months. According to his medical records, he was involved in a traffic accident and diagnosed with open tibia fracture. A previous surgery of emergent debridement and external fixation was performed in our institution, leaving a 6-cm tibia bone defect. After that this patient received several times of vacuum sealing drainage (VSD), skin grafting, and changed external fixation to cast because of pin tract infection.

Case summary:

The physical examination of the patient showed a healed skin wound and a good dorsal arterial pulse. X-ray indicated a large bone defect at the tibia fracture site with osteosclerosis at the fracture sections. This patient received ipsilateral single-cortex vascularized single-cortex fibula graft, other than double-cortex fibula graft. X-ray and CT scan 4 months after the operation confined bone healing. The patient returned to normal activities with an inconspicuous limb.


Ipsilateral single-cortex fibula graft is effective for the treatment of large tibia bone defect in infant or small aged patients. It exhibited better potential benefits than double-cortex graft in such cases.

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