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Is frozen tumour-bearing autograft with concurrent vascularized fibula an alternative to the Capanna technique for the intercalary reconstruction after resection of osteosarcoma in the lower limb?

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The use of frozen tumour-bearing autograft combined with a vascularized fibular graft (VFG) represents a new technique for biological reconstruction of massive bone defect. We have compared the clinical outcomes between this technique and Capanna reconstruction.


From June 2011 to January 2016 a retrospective study was carried out of patients with primary osteosarcoma of lower limbs who underwent combined biological intercalary reconstruction. Patients were categorized into two groups based on the reconstructive technique: frozen tumour-bearing autograft combined with concurrent VFG (Group 1) and the Capanna method (Group 2). Demographics, operating procedures, oncological outcomes, graft union, limb function, and postoperative complications were compared.


A total of 23 patients were identified for analysis: eight in Group 1 and 15 in Group 2. There was no difference in the demographics (age, sex, and affected site) and operating procedures (resection length, duration of surgery, and blood loss) between the two groups. No significant difference was found in local recurrence in Group 1 versus Group 2 (p = 0.585). Mean union time for the frozen autograft-host junction was 8.4 months (7.0 to 11.0), significantly earlier than for the allograft-host junction in Group 2 (mean 14.1 months (10.0 to 28.0); p < 0.001). Mean Musculoskeletal Tumor Society scores in groups 1 and 2 were 90.3% (SD 7.4%) and 88.0% (SD 9.0%), respectively, with no significant statistical difference (p = 0.535). In terms of complications, infection (n = 1, 6.7%) and delayed union (n = 2, 13.3%) occurred in Group 2, but no such complications were observed in Group 1.


Frozen tumour-bearing autograft in combination with VFG can be used as an alternative to the Capanna reconstruction in properly selected patients with osteosarcoma.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(5):646–652.

Correspondence should be sent to Jing Li. E-mail:

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