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Lower Limb

Outcomes following femoral lengthening

An initial comparison of the Precice intramedullary lengthening nail and the LRS external fixator monorail system

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Patients undergoing femoral lengthening by external fixation tolerate treatment less well when compared to tibial lengthening. Lengthening of the femur with an intramedullary device may have advantages.

Patients and Methods

We reviewed all cases of simple femoral lengthening performed at our unit from 2009 to 2014. Cases of nonunions, concurrent deformities, congenital limb deficiencies and lengthening with an unstable hip were excluded, leaving 33 cases (in 22 patients; 11 patients had bilateral procedures) for review. Healing index, implant tolerance and complications were compared.


In 20 cases (15 patients) the Precice lengthening nail was used and in 13 cases (seven patients) the LRS external fixator system. The desired length was achieved in all cases in the Precice group and in 12 of 13 cases in the LRS group. The mean healing index was 31.3 days/cm in the Precice and 47.1 days/cm in the LRS group (p < 0.001). This was associated with an earlier ability to bear full weight without aids in the Precice group. There were more complications with LRS lengthening, including pin site infections and regenerate deformity. Implant tolerance and the patients’ perception of the cosmetic result were better with the Precice treatment.


Femoral lengthening with the Precice femoral nail achieved excellent functional results with fewer complications and greater patient satisfaction when compared with the LRS system in our patients.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2016;98-B:1382–8.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr M. Laubscher; e-mail:

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