Limb-lengthening nails have largely replaced external fixation in limb-lengthening and reconstructive surgery. However, the adverse events and high prevalence of radiological changes recently noted with the STRYDE lengthening nail have raised concerns about the use of internal lengthening nails. The aim of this study was to compare the prevalence of radiological bone abnormalities between STRYDE, PRECICE, and FITBONE nails prior to nail removal.
This was a retrospective case series from three centres. Patients were included if they had either of the three limb-lengthening nails (STYDE, PRECICE, or FITBONE) removed. Standard orthogonal radiographs immediately prior to nail removal were examined for bone abnormalities at the junction of the telescoping nail parts.
In total, 306 patients (168 male, 138 female) had 366 limb-lengthening nails removed. The mean time from nail insertion to radiological evaluation was 434 days (36 to 3,015). Overall, 77% of STRYDE nails (20/26) had bone abnormalities at the interface compared with only 2% of FITBONE (4/242) and 1% of PRECICE nails (1/98; p < 0.001). Focal osteolysis in conjunction with periosteal reaction at the telescoping interface was only observed in STRYDE nails.
Bone abnormalities at the interface of telescoping nail parts were seen in the majority of STRYDE nails, but only very rarely with FITBONE or PRECICE nails. We conclude that the low prevalence of radiological changes at the junctional interface of 242 FITBONE and 98 PRECICE nails at the time of nail removal does not warrant clinical concerns.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(11):1731–1735.