Donor-Site Morbidity of Vascularized Bone Flaps from the Distal Femur: A Systematic Review

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Background:Vascularized grafts from the femur, including the medial femoral condyle and medial femoral trochlea, are increasingly being used. It is critical to understand the lower extremity complications from flap harvest.Methods:The authors searched available literature reporting on femoral flaps using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Database, and Web of Science. After article selection, data were collected regarding demographics, procedure details, outcomes, and complications. The authors classified outcomes as good, fair, or poor based on pain, range-of-motion, sensory changes, subjective reporting, patient-reported outcomes, and other donor-site complications, including the need for additional procedures.Results:Two hundred twenty articles were identified. Forty-five met criteria for review, with data available for 283 patients. No patients had range-of-motion deficits beyond 1 year. Two percent of patients (six of 283) required additional donor-site procedures, with one report of a femur fracture after medial femoral condyle harvest. Only one study on 45 medial femoral trochlea patients presented patient-reported outcomes regarding the knee. Few objective data were presented. Twenty-eight articles presented adequate complication data for 252 patients to be rated as good, fair, or poor. Overall, 89 percent had good outcomes without donor-site complications. Of the 176 medial femoral condyle patients with outcomes reported, 92 percent had good outcomes; and 71 percent of the 48 medial femoral trochlea patients had good outcomes reported.Conclusions:Overall, the reported donor-site morbidity from medial femoral condyle and medial femoral trochlea harvest is low. Chronic knee pain and sensory changes are most frequently reported, especially in medial femoral trochlea patients.

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