Surgical Technique: Free Vascularized Fibular Graft for AVN
Avascular necrosis (AVN) or osteonecrosis of the femoral head (ONFH) is a common cause of hip pain and disability in a young patient demographic with an average age of mid-30s. If left untreated, approximately 80 % of cases of ONFH will result in femoral head collapse and hip degeneration necessitating total hip arthroplasty (THA) in a mean of 2 years. The relatively poor outcomes and requisite lifestyle changes associated with THA in this patient population have challenged surgeons to seek alternative treatment options. Vascularized bone grafts have been shown to have better radiographical and clinical results compared to nonvascularized bone grafts. Of these options, free vascularized fibular graft (FVFG) is the treatment of choice for its structural and vascular support within the femoral head. Improved technique has led to complication rates, including donor-site morbidity, statistically similar to that of nonvascular fibular grafts. When used in young patients with precollapse ONFH, FVFG can greatly improve patient outcome, with lower rates of conversion to THA than other treatment modalities.
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