Shortening and Angulation Strategies to Address Composite Bone and Soft Tissue Defects

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Gustilo–Anderson IIIB tibial fractures and infected tibial nonunions represent particular challenges for the orthopaedic trauma surgeon. Debridement of dysvascular bone and soft tissues can create composite bone and soft tissue defects. Restoring the soft tissue envelope is a critical step in preventing or treating ongoing infection and in restoring local blood supply. Shortening and angulation techniques, including the gradual expansion muscle flap, rely on distraction histogenesis to address composite bone and soft tissue loss. These strategies can be used to treat large soft tissue defects when flap coverage or free tissue transfer is not available.

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