What Is the Outcome of Allograft and Intramedullary Free Fibula (Capanna Technique) in Pediatric and Adolescent Patients With Bone Tumors?

Matthew T. Houdek, Eric R. Wagner, Anthony A. Stans, Alexander Y. Shin, Allen T. Bishop, Franklin H. Sim, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: After bone tumor resection, reconstruction for limb salvage surgery can be challenging because of the resultant large segmental bony defects. Structural allografts have been used to fill these voids; however, this technique is associated with high complication rates. To circumvent the complications associated with this procedure, massive bony allografts have been supplemented with an intramedullary vascularized free fibula. However, few studies have examined the outcomes using this technique in the pediatric and adolescent populations. Questions/purposes: The purpose of this study was to examine the revision-free survival using he Capanna technique for limb salvage for pediatric lower limb salvage. We attempted to answer the following questions: (1) What was the overall limb salvage rate along with incidence of reoperation and complications? (2) How did pediatric and adolescent patients functionally perform after this technique? (3) What was the incidence of late complications including infection and fracture? (4) What was the incidence of limb length discrepancy? Methods: Eighteen pediatric patients who underwent lower extremity limb salvage with the use of cadaveric allograft and intramedullary free fibular transfer (Capanna technique) were identified. There were nine boys males and nine girls with a mean age of 11 years (range, 5–18 years) and mean followup of 8 years (range, 2–15 years), respectively. All patients had at least 2 years followup. Three patients have not been seen in followup during the past 5-years; however, all had made it to their 5-year clinical followup. The patients’ medical records were reviewed for clinical and functional outcomes as well as postoperative complications. Time to union was recorded through an evaluation of radiographs. Mankin functional outcome and Musculoskeletal Tumor Society (MSTS) rating scale were recorded for each patient. Results: The overall limb salvage rate was 94%. Fourteen patients underwent an additional surgical procedure. Six patients underwent additional procedure(s) to treat a symptomatic nonunion. Seventeen of the patients had a good or excellent Mankin score with a mean MSTS rating of 93% at last followup. Six of the patients underwent a limb length modification procedure. Conclusions: Use of large allografts in conjunction with intramedullary vascularized free fibulas appears to be a reliable method for the reconstruction of large bony tumors of the lower extremity in this population, although we did not directly compare this with allografts alone in our study. The use of locked plates may improve union times. The proportion of patients achieving limb preservation was high and complication rates are acceptable. Level of Evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-668
Number of pages9
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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