Research Article| Volume 60, ISSUE 9, P1019-1024, September 2007

The pedicled vascularised scapular bone flap for proximal humerus reconstruction and short humeral stump lengthening


      The vascularised scapular bone free flap is popular in mandible reconstruction, but it is less commonly used as a pedicled flap to reconstruct the upper humerus. We analysed our experience with pedicled scapular crest flaps in humerus reconstruction and compared our results with cases reported in the literature. We considered the age at surgery, the time elapsed before reconstruction, the time required to obtain solid bony union, the operative indication, the osteosynthesis procedure used and whether circumflex scapular vessels or angular vessels were used. There were eight patients (seven men and one woman, mean age=33): four humerus stump lengthenings, two upper-third humerus bone and soft tissue defects and two multioperated established humerus non-unions. Flaps were pedicled either on circumflex scapular vessels (three) or angular vessels (five). The mean size of the scapular bone used was 9.4 cm (range 7–11 cm). We associated a covering flap for seven patients. All the flaps survived and bone healed in a 3.75 month mean delay (range three to six months), and there was one accidental secondary fracture one year after reconstruction. For a vascularised reconstruction of the upper humerus, the pedicled scapular bone flap is a valuable option especially if a composite reconstruction is needed. For short humerus stump lengthening, this flap seems to provide a very satisfactory solution.


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