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General Orthopaedics

Double-level fixator-assisted nailing (DL-FAN)

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Double-level lengthening, bone transport, and bifocal compression-distraction are commonly undertaken using Ilizarov or other fixators. We performed double-level fixator-assisted nailing, mainly for the correction of deformity and lengthening in the same segment, using a straight intramedullary nail to reduce the time in a fixator.

Patients and Methods

A total of 23 patients underwent this surgery, involving 27 segments (23 femora and four tibiae), over a period of ten years. The most common indication was polio in ten segments and rickets in eight; 20 nails were inserted retrograde and seven antegrade. A total of 15 lengthenings were performed in 11 femora and four tibiae, and 12 double-level corrections of deformity without lengthening were performed in the femur. The mean follow-up was 4.9 years (1.1 to 11.4). Four patients with polio had tibial lengthening with arthrodesis of the ankle. We compared the length of time in a fixator and the external fixation index (EFI) with a control group of 27 patients (27 segments) who had double-level procedures with external fixation. The groups were matched for the gain in length, age, and level of difficulty score.


The mean gain in length was statistically similar in the two groups: 3.9 cm (1.5 to 9.0) in the study group and 4.2 cm (3.4 to 5.0) in the control group (p = 0.350). The mean time in a fixator was significantly less in the study group compared with the control group: 8.6 weeks (2.0 to 22.8) versus 30.2 weeks (25.0 to 35.4; p < 0.001). The mean EFI was significantly lower in the study group compared with the control group: 17.7 days/cm (10.6 to 35.6) versus 73.4 days/cm (44.5 to 102.3; p < 0.001). The ASAMI (Association for the Study and Application of the Method of Ilizarov) bone score was excellent in 22, good in four, and fair in one. The ASAMI functional score was excellent in 20 and good in seven. There were no infections, superficial or deep.


Double-level osteotomies or two procedures using a custom-made straight nail and external fixation can be used to correct deformities or to treat nonunion or malunion and may be combined with arthrodesis of the ankle with lengthening. It is a reasonably safe procedure that allows accurate and cost-effective treatment with a relatively short time in a fixator.

Correspondence should be sent to M. M. Chaudhary; email:

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