Background: The reconstruction of meta-/diaphyseal bone defects following bone tumour resection is challenging, and biological treatment options should be applied whenever possible, especially in benign lesions and early stage sarcomas. We aimed to evaluate the results of segmental (SR) and hemicortical reconstructions (HR) at the extremities using non-vascularised fibula grafts.
Methods: We retrospectively enrolled 36 patients who were treated with non-vascularised fibula reconstructions (15 SR, 21 HR) after bone tumour resection (15 malignant, 21 benign). All cases were evaluated regarding consolidation, hypertrophy at the graft-host junctions, and complications; moreover, the functional and oncological results were assessed. The mean follow-up was 8.3 years (2.1-26.6 years).
Results: Primary union was achieved in 94% (SR 87%, HR 100%) of patients, and 85% (SR 81%, HR 88%) showed hypertrophy at the graft-host junction. The overall complication rate was 36% with 4 patients (11%) developing local recurrence. There was a significant correlation between the development of mechanical complications (fracture, delayed-/non-union) and a defect size of ≥12 cm (p = 0.013), segmental defects (p = 0.013) and additional required treatment (p = 0.008). The functional outcome was highly satisfactory (mean MSTS score 86%).
Conclusions: Due to encouraging results and advantages (such as their remodelling capacity at the donor site), non-vascularised fibula reconstructions should be considered a valuable alternative treatment option for patients with hemicortical defects or segmental reconstructions of less than 12 cm in which no additional neo-/adjuvant treatment is necessary.
Keywords: Autograft; Bone defects; Bone tumour; Defect reconstruction; Non-vascularised fibula; Sarcoma.