Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 274--282

Free fibula flap for lower limb salvage after tumour resection

1 ACTREC Tata Memorial Centre, Navi Mumbai, India
2 Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Maharastra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vinay Kant Shankhdhar
Flat No. 101, Mandavi Building, Anushakti Nagar, Trombay, Mumbai - 400 094, Maharastra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijps.IJPS_113_17

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Context: Post-tumour resection lower limb salvage. Aim/Introduction: Resection of tumours of the femur and tibia around the knee and ankle joints results in large bony defects. Often arthrodesis is an alternative; in case, adequate functional motors cannot be preserved or due to economic constraints. Thus, in an immunocompromised patient, the vascularised fibula is the best form of reconstruction. The vascularised fibular flap (pedicled/free) can be used in combination with an allograft. We refer to such a combination reconstruction as ‘allocombo’. The vascularised fibular graft hypertrophies in due course of time, and till that period, the allograft provides the required mechanical strength to allow early ambulation. Subjects and Methods: A retrospective study of 24 cases of vascularised fibular graft for lower limb reconstruction was conducted from February 2003 to March 2014. The average defect size was 15.5 cm and the average length of fibula harvested was 24.35 cm. A total of 19 free fibular flaps and 5 pedicled fibula were done. Mean age was 26 years. Fibula was nestled in the allograft obtained from the tissue bank. Results: The mean follow-up time was 52 months. Free flap success rate was 96%. Successful healing was achieved at 45 ends (97.8%). Radiological evidence of union at osteotomy sites occurred at an average of 6.8 months. Eight patients eventually succumbed to disease. At the final follow-up, the mean Musculoskeletal Tumour Society functional score of the evaluable patients was 26 (range 20–30). Conclusions: Pedicled fibula is a good option if the defect is within 14 cm of the knee joint at the femoral end. The vessels have to curve around the fibular head, thus its removal improves the reach of the pedicle. The flap is easy to harvest with predictable vascular anatomy and it can provide a large amount of vascularised bone and skin paddle. It results in early ambulation, rehabilitation and reduced morbidity. We realised that fixation is easier and chances of vascular injury are less in free as compared to pedicled fibula.


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