Outcomes and Complications of Reconstruction with Use of Free Vascularized Fibular Graft for Spinal and Pelvic Defects Following Resection of a Malignant Tumor

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Following resection of malignant tumors of the spine and pelvis, reconstructive surgeons often face large structural defects. Unlike reconstruction in the extremities, wherein a free vascularized fibular graft (FVFG) is a highly utilized option for segmental osseous reconstruction, there are limited data on the use of an FVFG in the spine and pelvis. The aim of this study was to review our institution’s experience with reconstruction with use of an FVFG following oncological resection in the spine and pelvis.


We reviewed 24 cases involving the use of an FVFG in reconstruction of segmental osseous defects of the spine and pelvis following oncological resection from 2000 to 2015. The cohort consisted of 12 male and 12 female patients with a mean age of 37 years and a mean follow-up of 5 years. Fifty-four percent of the reconstructions were spinopelvic or sacropelvic.


The overall 2, 5, and 10-year rate of survival was 76%, 55%, and 37%, respectively. With regard to disease-free survival, the overall 2, 5, and 10-year rate was 81%, 72%, and 48%. The overall rate of union was 86%, with a mean time to union of 7 months. Complications were common, with 83% of the patients sustaining at least 1 postoperative complication. Following the procedure, the mean Musculoskeletal Tumor Society rating was 53%.


An FVFG provides a durable means of reconstruction of osseous defects in the spine and pelvis. Although patient function was acceptable following these large reconstructions, the rate of postoperative complications was high.

Level of Evidence:

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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