Use of non-vascularized autologous fibula strut graft in the treatment of segmental bone loss.

Fractures resulting in segmental bone loss challenge the orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedic surgeons in developed countries have the option of choosing vascularized bone transfers, bone transport, allogenic bone grafts, bone graft substitutes and several other means to treat such conditions. In developing countries where such facilities or expertise may not be readily available, the surgeon has to rely on other techniques of treatment. Non-vascularized fibula strut graft and cancellous bone grafting provides a reliable means of treating such conditions in developing countries.Over a period of six years all patients with segmental bone loss either from trauma or oncologic resection were included in the study. Data concerning the type of wound, size of gap and skin loss at tumor or fracture were obtained from clinical examination and radiographs.Ten patients satisfied the inclusion criteria for the study. The average length of the fibula strut is 7 cm, the longest being 15 cm and the shortest 3 cm long. The average defect length was 6.5 cm. Five patients had Gustillo III B open tibial fractures. One patient had recurrent giant cell tumor of the distal radius and another had a polyostotic bone cyst of the femur, which was later confirmed to be osteosarcoma. Another had non-union of distal tibial fracture with shortening. One other patient had gunshot injury to the femur and was initially managed by skeletal traction. The tenth patient had a comminuted femoral fracture. All trauma patients had measurement of missing segment, tissue envelope assessment, neurological examination, and debridement under general anesthesia with fracture stabilization with external fixators or casts. Graft incorporation was 80% in all treated patients.Autologous free, non-vascularized fibula and cancellous graft is a useful addition to the armamentarium of orthopedic surgeon in developing countries attempting to manage segmental bone loss, whether created by trauma or excision of tumors.