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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 323-329

Limb lengthening over a nail can safely reduce the duration of external fixation

Centre for Ilizarov Techniques; Govt Medical College, Akola - 444 001 and Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Milind Chaudhary
Chaudhary Hospital, Civil Lines, Akola
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.41857

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Background: Limb lengthening using Ilizarov external fixation is safe, but the consolidation phase tends to take too long. A method that can safely reduce the time spent in external fixation would help increase patient tolerance and comfort. We report our results of lengthening over nails (LON) method in which an interlocking nail was used along with an Ilizarov external fixator to reduce external fixation duration in limb lengthening. This is a retrospective study. Materials and Methods: Twenty-seven lengthening surgeries were done with the LON method in 23 patients with 22 tibiae and five femora during the last 12 years. Length gain ranged from 1.5 cm to a maximum of 9.8 cm with a mean of 4.6 cm. The mean modified Paley difficulty score was 7.6 points. Fourteen associated procedures were performed in these patients, including equinus contracture releases, supracondylar osteotomies, ilizarov hip reonstruction and ankle fusion. We had a 29% rate of complications which included one problem, three obstacles and four complications with no serious deep intramedullary infections. Our rate of complications compares favorably with series reported in the literature. External fixation duration was reduced significantly to a mean of 17.8 days per cm. Conclusions: A combination of intramedullary nailing along with external fixation significantly reduces external fixation time while maintaining low rate of complications. Great care needs to be taken to prevent pin track infection and deep intramedullary sepsis.

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