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Lower Limb

Complications and outcome of tibial lengthening using the Ilizarov method with or without a supplementary intramedullary nail


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We compared the complications and outcome of tibial lengthening using the Ilizarov method with and without the use of a supplementary intramedullary nail. In a retrospective case-matched series assembled from 176 patients with tibial lengthening, we matched 52 patients (26 pairs, group A with nail and group B without) according to the following criteria in order of importance: 1) difference in amount of lengthening (± 2 cm); 2) percentage difference in lengthening (± 5%); 3) difference in patient’s age (± seven years); 4) aetiology of the shortening, and 5) level of difficulty in obtaining the correction. The outcome was evaluated using the external fixator index, the healing index and an outcome score according to the criteria of Paley. It was found that some complications were specific to group A or B respectively, but others were common to both groups.

The outcome was generally better in lengthenings with a nail, although there was a higher incidence of rectifiable equinus deformity in these patients.

Correspondence should be sent to Professor H.-R. Song; e-mail: songhae@korea.ac.kr

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