, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 1–3

Latissimus Dorsi Free Flap Salvage of Recurrent Chronic Osteomyelitis with Simultaneous Elbow Interposition Arthroplasty



Chronic osteomyelitis is difficult to resolve and usually requires radical debridement, filling of dead space, and a well-vascularized tissue to cover the involved bone. In the tibia, this is frequently accomplished with free vascularized muscle transfer and success rates over 90% for cases of limited involvement but lower success for diffuse involvement. Elbow joints, with advanced arthritis but ineligible for total joint replacement, have been treated with interposition arthroplasty and varying degrees of success limited primarily by instability. A 46-year-old male presented with diffuse osteomyelitis of all three bones at the elbow joint and advanced articular destruction from septic arthritis. He had undergone more than ten previous surgeries without resolution of the osteomyelitis or restoration of elbow function over a 2-year period. Radical debridement followed by a latissimus dorsi free muscle flap interposed to the dead space and layered onto the bones as an interposition membrane was able to solve both of his problems. At 3 years postoperatively, there is no evidence of recurrent osteomyelitis, and the patient declares satisfaction with the daily functional performance of his elbow joint.


Elbow Osteomyelitis Latissimus dorsi free muscle flap 

Copyright information

© American Association for Hand Surgery 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hand and Wrist Center of Houston, Department of Orthopedic SurgeryUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterHoustonUSA

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