Plastic-reconstructive surgery for upper extremity tumors not only follows the fundamental principles of oncologic surgery, but also requires attention to functional and aesthetic aspects. For soft tissue reconstruction, a variety of surgical options are available, whereas for the reconstruction of extensive bony defects only the free microvascular fibular transplant appears to be a reasonable method. Its advantages are its slim shape and variable length, the possibility of achieving a stable osteosynthesis suitable for early physiotherapy, and low donor site morbidity, even if the fibula is harvested as an osteoseptocutaneous flap. Between 1994 and 2000, five patients underwent a free fibula transplantation for radius reconstruction. In all cases, a two-stage reconstructive approach with initial tumor biopsy was chosen. The resected tumors were two osteosarcomas, one extraosseous Ewing sarcoma, one aneurysmatic bone cyst and one desmoplastic fibroma. Surgical and pathohistological tumor-free margins were achieved in all cases (R(0)). Two patients received an osteocutaneous graft. All grafts were revascularized to the radial artery and subcutaneous veins. The transplanted fibula grafts were between 10 cm and 17 cm in length. All proximal osteosyntheses were performed fibuloradially, the distal stabilizations were fibulo-scapho-lunate (2 x) and fibulo-radial (3 x), depending on the extent of resection. All microvascular transplants survived completely and showed a stable osseous integration, both clinically and radiologically. Depending on the postoperative course, an adapted intensive physiotherapy regimen yielded good or satisfactory function. In the follow-up of up to seven years in one case a tumor recurrence (osteosarcoma, 35 months post-operatively) required forearm amputation. The reconstruction of tumor-associated wide bony defects in the upper extremity with a free microvascular fibula graft allows for a successful therapy with respect to oncologic, functional and aesthetic considerations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complex defects of the forearm and hand often require microvascular reconstruction with osteocutaneous free flaps for limb salvage.
Fifteen patients with osseous and soft-tissue defects of the forearm and hand were treated with osteocutaneous flaps (1992 to 2004) and evaluated for postoperative results. Assessment focused on range of motion, pain, grip strength, and Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand questionnaire score. Donor- and recipient-site morbidity was documented.
The defects resulted from trauma, infection, or malignancy. Reconstruction was possible by microvascular osteoseptocutaneous fibula transplantation (n = 8), osteocutaneous scapular or parascapular flaps(n = 6), and osteocutaneous lateral arm flap (n = 1). The average patient age was 38 years. The median osseous defect was 11.7 cm, and all patients needed additional soft-tissue reconstruction. All defects could be reconstructed in a one-step procedure after serial débridement or oncologic resection. Patients' hand function was markedly reduced compared with the unaffected extremity, but functional results were still satisfactory, with a mean Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score of 25.3 reflecting a moderate disability in activities of daily living. Two patients developed pseudarthrosis, and one had to undergo an ablation procedure because of persistent infection. Two patients developed wound dehiscence at the donor site, and one patient required a fasciotomy due to an imminent compartment syndrome after fibula harvest. For all patients, the functional results were acceptable when the potential alternatives were taken into consideration. This was also reflected by a high individual satisfaction rate.
This analysis demonstrates that limb salvage with osteocutaneous free flaps is the treatment of choice for three-dimensional defects of the forearm and hand.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 09/2006; 118(2):443-54; discussion 455-6. DOI:10.1097/01.prs.0000227742.66799.74 · 2.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that living bone allotransplants can incorporate, remodel, and maintain mechanical properties without long-term immunosuppression in a fashion comparable to living autotransplants. For this, viability is maintained by repair of nutrient vessels and neovascularization from implanted host-derived vasculature. Microsurgically revascularized femoral diaphysis allotransplants were transferred from young male New-Zealand-White (NZW) into 4 groups of male Dutch-Belted (DB) rabbits. Short-term immunosuppression by tacrolimus (IS, groups 4 and 5) and host-derived neovascularization (NV) from implanted fascial flaps was used to maintain viability (groups 3 and 5) as independent variables. Group 2 received neither IS nor NV. Vascularized pedicled autotransplants were orthotopically transplanted in group 1. After 16 weeks, transplants were evaluated using radiologic, histologic, biomechanical, and histomorphometric parameters. Vascularized bone allotransplants treated with both short-term IS and host-derived NV (group 5) healed in a fashion similar to pedicled autotransplants (group 1). Their radiographic scores were higher than other groups. Groups with patent fascial flaps (3 and 5) showed significantly greater neoangiogenesis than ligated controls (2 and 4). Tacrolimus administration did not affect neoangiogenesis. Elastic modulus and ultimate stress were significantly greater in autogenous bone than in allotransplanted femora. Biomechanical properties were not significantly different among allotransplants. Bone turnover was decreased with IS, but increased with NV by the implanted fascial flaps. Living allogeneic femoral allotransplants treated with short-term IS and host-derived neoangiogenesis can lead to stable transplant incorporation in this rabbit model. The combination of both factors optimizes bone healing. Transplant mineralization is improved with neoangiogenesis but diminished with IS.
Journal of Orthopaedic Research 06/2009; 27(6):763-70. DOI:10.1002/jor.20764 · 2.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The radial forearm free flap (RFFF) is the most commonly used free flap in head and neck reconstructive surgery. However, despite excellent results with respect to the site of reconstruction, donor site morbidity cannot be neglected. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge and analyzes the level of evidence with regard to perioperative management of the reduction of RFFF donor site morbidity. Methods: The medical Internet source PubMed was screened for relevant articles. All relevant articles were tabulated according to the levels of scientific evidence, and the available methods for reduction of donor site morbidity are discussed. Results: Classification into levels of evidence reveals 3 publications (1.5%) with level I (randomized controlled trials), 29 (14.0%) with level II (experimental studies with no randomization, cohort studies, or outcome research), 3 (1.5%) with level III (systematic review of case-control studies or individual case-control studies), 121 (58.7%) with level IV (nonexperimental studies, such as cross-sectional trials, case series, case reports), and 15 (7.3%) with level V (narrative review or expert opinion without explicit critical appraisal). Thirty-five (17.0%) articles could not be classified, because they focused on a topic other than donor site morbidity of the RFFF. Conclusions: Although great interest has been expressed with regard to reducing the donor site morbidity of the workhorse flap in microvascular reconstruction procedures, most publications fail to provide the hard facts and solid evidence characteristic of high-quality research.
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