The vascularized medial femoral condyle free flap for reconstruction of segmental recalcitrant nonunion of the clavicle

Tony Chieh-Ting Huang, M. Diya Sabbagh, Chun Kuan Lu, Scott P. Steinmann, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Recalcitrant clavicular nonunion is a rare but complicated problem of clavicular fracture fixation. Nonunion is most often treated with clavicular shortening or in extreme cases vascularized bone grafting. Herein we describe our experience using the vascularized medial femoral condyle (MFC) free flap for the reconstruction of segmental defects in cases of recalcitrant clavicular nonunion. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted of patients with symptomatic recalcitrant nonunion of the clavicle who underwent reconstruction with the vascularized MFC free flap from June 2003 to January 2018. Patients' demographics, time to union, and postoperative complications were collected. Results: A total of 7 patients (6 women; 39.8 ± 9.01 years old) underwent clavicular reconstruction after an average of 3.7 ± 1.3 previous surgical procedures. Average preoperative visual analog scale score for pain was 4.1. The graft size ranged from 2 to 5 cm in length with approximately 1 cm in width and depth. The average time of total nonunion was 66 ± 48.2 months before surgery. All flaps survived and all clavicles healed with an average time to radiographic union of 15 ± 6.7 months. Patients regained full shoulder motion, and average postoperative visual analog scale score was 1.6 ± 1.8. All patients returned to their preoperative employment status. Donor site morbidity from the knee was minimal. Conclusion: The MFC free flap is a good option for recalcitrant bone nonunion of the clavicle where larger vascularized flaps are not warranted. It is effective and offers minimal donor site morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2364-2370
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Case Series
  • Clavicle
  • Level IV
  • Treatment Study
  • clavicular nonunion
  • medial femoral condyle
  • recalcitrant nonunion
  • segmental defect
  • vascularized bone graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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