Flow-Through Free Fibula Osteocutaneous Flap in Reconstruction of Tibial Bone, Soft Tissue, and Main Artery Segmental Defects

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Abstract

Objective

The aim of this report was to present the use of flow-through free fibula osteocutaneous flap for the repair of complex tibial bone, soft tissue, and main artery segmental defects.

Patients and Methods

Five patients with bone, soft tissue, and segmental anterior tibial artery defects were included. The lengths of injured tibial bones ranged from 4 to 7 cm. The sizes of impaired soft tissues were between 9 × 4 and 15 × 6 cm2. The lengths of defect of anterior tibial artery segments ranged from 6 to 10 cm. Two patients had distal limb perfusion problems. Flow-through free fibula osteocutaneous flap was performed for all 5 patients.

Results

Patients were followed for 12 to 18 months. All wounds healed after 1-stage operation, and all flow-through flaps survived. The distal perfusion after vascular repair was normal in all patients. Superficial necrosis of flap edge was noted in 1 case. After the local debridement and partial thickness skin graft, the flap healed uneventfully, and the surgical operation did not increase injury to the donor site. Satisfactory bone union was achieved in all patients in 2 to 4 months postoperation. Enlargement of fibula graft was observed during follow-up from 12 to 18 months. The functions of adjacent joints were recovered, and all patients were able to walk normally.

Conclusions

Flow-through free fibula osteocutaneous flap was shown to be an effective and efficient technique for repairing composite tibial bone, soft tissue, and main artery segmental defects. This 1-stage operation should be useful in clinical practice for the treatment of complex bone, soft tissue, and vessel defects.

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