Reconstruction of juxta-articular huge defects of distal femur with vascularized fibular bone graft and Ilizarov's distraction osteogenesis

Davy Lai*, Chuan Mu Chen, Fang Yao Chiu, Ming Chau Chang, Tain Hsiung Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: We evaluate the effect of reconstructing huge defects (mean, 15.8 cm) of the distal femur with Ilizarov's distraction osteogenesis and free twin-barreled vascularized fibular bone graft (TVFG). METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of five patients who had cases of distal femoral fractures with huge defects and infection that were treated by the Ilizarov's distraction osteogenesis. After radical debridement, two of the five cases had free TVFG and monolocal distraction osteogenesis, and another two cases had multilocal distraction osteogenesis with knee fusion because of loss of the joint congruity. The other case with floating knee injury had bilocal distraction osteogenesis and a preserved knee joint. The mean defect of distal femur was 15.8 cm (range, 14-18 cm) in length. RESULTS: The mean length of distraction osteogenesis by Ilizarov's apparatus was 8.2 cm. The mean length of TVFG was 8 cm. The average duration from application of Ilizarov's apparatus to achievement of bony union was 10.2 months (range, 8-13 months). At the end of the follow-up, ranges of motion of three knees were 0 to 45 degrees, 0 to 60 degrees, and 0 to 90 degrees. Two cases had knee arthrodesis with bony fusion because of loss of the joint congruity. There were no leg length discrepancies in all five patients. In addition, three patients had pin tract infections and one case had a 10 degree varus deformity of the femur. CONCLUSIONS: Juxta-articular huge defect (>10 cm) of distal femur remains a challenge to orthopedic surgeons. Ilizarov's technique provides the capability to maintain stability, eradicate infection, restore leg length, and to perform adjuvant reconstructive procedure easily. In this study, we found that combining Ilizarov's distraction osteogenesis with TVFG results in improved patient outcome for patients with injuries such as supracondylar or intercondylar infected fractures or nonunion of distal femur with huge bone defect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Ilizarov technique
  • Infected nonunion
  • Juxta-articular femoral fracture
  • Massive bone defect
  • Twin-barreled vascularized bone graft (TVFG)


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