Reconstruction of the extensor mechanism after proximal tibia endoprosthetic replacement

J Arthroplasty. 2001 Oct; 16(7): 856-62
Bickels J, Wittig JC, Kollender Y, Neff RS, Kellar-Graney K, Meller I, Malawer MM

The proximal tibia is a difficult area in which to perform a wide resection of a bone tumor. This difficulty is due to the intimate relationship of tumor in this location to the nerves and blood vessels of the leg, inadequate soft tissue coverage after endoprosthetic reconstruction, and the need to reconstruct the extensor mechanism. Competence of the extensor mechanism is the major determinant of functional outcome of these patients. Between 1980 and 1997, 55 patients underwent proximal tibia resection with endoprosthetic reconstruction for a variety of malignant and benign-aggressive tumors. Reconstruction of the extensor mechanism included reattachment of the patellar tendon to the prosthesis with a Dacron tape, reinforcement with autologous bone-graft, and attachment of an overlying gastrocnemius flap. All patients were followed for a minimum of 2 years; 6 patients (11%) had a transient peroneal nerve palsy, 4 patients (7.2%) had a fasciocutaneous flap necrosis, and 2 patients (3.6%) had a deep wound infection. Full extension to extension lag of 20 degrees was achieved in 44 patients, and 8 patients required secondary reinforcement of the patellar tendon. Function was estimated to be good to excellent in 48 patients (87%). Reattachment of the patellar tendon to the prosthesis and reinforcement with an autologous bone-graft and a gastrocnemius flap are reliable means to restore extension after proximal tibia endoprosthetic reconstruction. 

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