Reconstruction of extremity long bone defects with vascularized fibula bone grafts

Corinne Wee, Daniel Ruter, Steven Schulz, Geoffroy Sisk, Julie West, Scott Tintle, Ian Valerio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aim: Composite tissue defects encompassing bone and/or isolated bony defects can pose a surgical challenge; however, their reconstruction is critical for successful functional limb salvage. These cases become increasingly problematic as secondary defects, following multiple nonvascularized grafting attempts resulting in complex bony nonunion. Herein, our experience utilizing fibula vascularized bone grafts (VBGs) for bone restoration will be presented to demonstrate their utility in a variety of reconstructions for limb salvage. Methods: This is a case series describing a series of vascularized fibula grafts for extremity reconstruction performed by a single academic surgeon over multiple institutions in seven years. Results: Twenty-seven (27) total VBGs met inclusion criteria and underwent reconstruction for traumatic (16), oncologic (6) and chronic degenerative (5) etiologies. Bony union was achieved in 26 of 27 cases. Conclusion: The decision-making process for bony reconstruction in these scenarios is difficult and multivariable. Fibula VBGs can provide a single-stage solution for autologous bony and soft tissue replacement of large or complex bone defects and can often be superior options compared with non-vascularized bone grafts or non-bone internal fixation techniques. Their osteogenic potential is unmatched by allogenic or synthetic substitutions. These benefits are evident in a variety of clinical settings such as pediatrics, oncology and trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalPlastic and Aesthetic Research
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Vascularized bone
  • bone reconstruction
  • composite extremity defect restoration
  • free tissue transfer
  • microsurgery
  • vascularized bone grafts


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