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Eur Spine J. 2002 Apr;11(2):176-82. Epub 2002 Jan 11.

Ventral cervical fusion at multiple levels using free vascularized double-islanded fibula - a technical report and review of the relevant literature.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany.


Reconstruction of the cervical spine using free vascularized bone flaps has been described in the literature. The reports involve either one level or, when multiple levels, they describe en bloc resection and reconstruction. Stabilization of different levels with a preserved intermediate segment with a single vascularized flap has not been described. We report on the case of a 55-year-old man, who had been operated several times using conventional techniques for cervical myelopathy and instability, who presented to us with severe neck pain. Diagnostic procedures showed pseudarthrosis of C3/4 and stress-overload of the C3/4 and C5/6 segments. The C4/5 fusion was adequately rigid, but avascular. We performed anterior cervical fusion at the C3/4 and C5/6 levels with a vascularized fibula flap modified as a double island. The rigidly fused C4/5 block was preserved and vascularized with the periosteum bridging the two fibular islands. The method and technique are described in detail. Fusion was adequate. Donor site morbidity was minimal and temporary. The patient is symptom free to date (25 months). The suggested method provides the possibility of vertebral fusion at different levels using a single vascularized flap. The indications for this procedure are (1) repeated failure of conventional methods, (2) established poor bone healing and bone non-union with avascular grafts and (3) a well-fused or preserved intermediate segment. The relevant literature is reviewed.

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