A bone defect is a lack of bone where it should normally occur. Bone defects may be caused by trauma, tumor, or infection (osteomyelitis). Surgical reconstruction of bone defects can present significant challenge for the orthopedic surgeon. Since bone defects arise from trauma or debridement for the treatment of osteomyelitis, the bone defects often accompany major soft-tissue (muscles, tendons, joints, etc.) injury.
In addition to correcting the bone defect, the surgeon must account for the soft-tissues in order to maximize the patient’s functional outcome. For large bone defects union may be difficult to achieve, causing deformity, infection, and limb length discrepancies. All of these potential complications must be addressed during treatment.