We treated twenty-two consecutive patients for an open fracture and segmental loss of bone in the upper extremity by delayed insertion of a graft of iliac corticocancellous bone. All of the wounds were left open and healed by secondary intention. Sixteen patients (nineteen grafts) had long-term follow-up. Ten injuries were secondary to a gunshot wound. The ten patients (twelve grafts) who had an injury to the hand were followed for an average of 24.1 months. No patient in this group had an infection, and all had primary union after an average of 13.3 weeks. Nine had a satisfactory result. The other six patients (seven grafts) had an injury to the arm or forearm and were followed for an average of 30.2 months. There were four non-unions, one refracture, and no persistent infections. The final result was satisfactory in five and unsatisfactory in one patient. Fourteen of the nineteen grafts were inserted within seventeen days after the initial injury. All nine of the grafts in the hand that were inserted early did well, but three of the other five (in the arm or forearm) became infected. The method that was used in the patients who had an open injury of the hand allowed early active motion and quick rehabilitation. The exposed cortical bone was not prone to infection. The technique has limited application in patients who have an open injury of the arm or forearm because of a high incidence of complications.





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