A series of 14 young, active patients who underwent vascularized bone graft reconstructions of large (9-15 cm) segmental skeletal defects of the upper extremity resulting from resection of a variety of bony tumors is presented. Eight defects involved the proximal humerus and required shoulder joint reconstruction, two were mid humeral and four involved the distal radius. Surgical techniques for both distal radius reconstruction with vascularized iliac crest and vascularized fibular head and glenohumeral reconstruction using the vascularized fibula are described. Several cases are discussed in detail, including achievement of bony union, postoperative range of motion and pain, and each patient's ability to resume activities. The literature is reviewed, and other reconstructive options for large bony defects of the upper extremity after tumor resection are discussed: nonvascularized bone grafts, allograft transfer, and custom prosthetic devices. The authors think that vascularized bone grafting offers the most favorable method of upper extremity salvage with preservation of joint function, especially at the shoulder.
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