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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 98-B, Issue 10 | Pages 1382 - 1388
1 Oct 2016
Laubscher M Mitchell C Timms A Goodier D Calder P


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.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 98-B, Issue 7 | Pages 952 - 960
1 Jul 2016
Muderis MA Tetsworth K Khemka A Wilmot S Bosley B Lord SJ Glatt V


This study describes the Osseointegration Group of Australia’s Accelerated Protocol two-stage strategy (OGAAP-1) for the osseointegrated reconstruction of amputated limbs.

Patients and Methods

We report clinical outcomes in 50 unilateral trans-femoral amputees with a mean age of 49.4 years (24 to 73), with a minimum one-year follow-up. Outcome measures included the Questionnaire for persons with a Trans-Femoral Amputation, the health assessment questionnaire Short-Form-36 Health Survey, the Amputation Mobility Predictor scores presented as K-levels, 6 Minute Walk Test and timed up and go tests. Adverse events included soft-tissue problems, infection, fractures and failure of the implant.

Bone & Joint Research
Vol. 5, Issue 3 | Pages 101 - 105
1 Mar 2016
Wang X Luo F Huang K Xie Z


Induced membrane technique is a relatively new technique in the reconstruction of large bone defects. It involves the implantation of polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) cement in the bone defects to induce the formation of membranes after radical debridement and reconstruction of bone defects using an autologous cancellous bone graft in a span of four to eight weeks. The purpose of this study was to explore the clinical outcomes of the induced membrane technique for the treatment of post-traumatic osteomyelitis in 32 patients.


A total of 32 cases of post-traumatic osteomyelitis were admitted to our department between August 2011 and October 2012. This retrospective study included 22 men and ten women, with a mean age of 40 years (19 to 70). Within this group there were 20 tibias and 12 femurs with a mean defect of 5 cm (1.5 to 12.5). Antibiotic-loaded PMMA cement was inserted into the defects after radical debridement. After approximately eight weeks, the defects were implanted with bone graft.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 97-B, Issue 6 | Pages 814 - 817
1 Jun 2015
Bose D Kugan R Stubbs D McNally M

Infected nonunion of a long bone continues to present difficulties in management. In addition to treating the infection, it is necessary to establish bony stability, encourage fracture union and reconstruct the soft-tissue envelope.

We present a series of 67 infected nonunions of a long bone in 66 patients treated in a multidisciplinary unit. The operative treatment of patients suitable for limb salvage was performed as a single procedure. Antibiotic regimes were determined by the results of microbiological culture.

At a mean follow-up of 52 months (22 to 97), 59 patients (88%) had an infection-free united fracture in a functioning limb. Seven others required amputation (three as primary treatment, three after late failure of limb salvage and one for recalcitrant pain after union).

The initial operation achieved union in 54 (84%) of the salvaged limbs at a mean of nine months (three to 26), with recurrence of infection in 9%. Further surgery in those limbs that remained ununited increased the union rate to 62 (97%) of the 64 limbs treated by limb salvage at final follow-up. The use of internal fixation was associated with a higher risk of recurrent infection than external fixation.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015; 97-B:814–17.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 97-B, Issue 5 | Pages 675 - 680
1 May 2015
Domeij-Arverud E Labruto F Latifi A Nilsson G Edman G Ackermann PW

Deep vein thrombosis is a common complication of immobilising the lower limb after surgery. We hypothesised that intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) therapy in outpatients who had undergone surgical repair of acute ruptures of the Achilles tendon could reduce the incidence of this problem.

A total of 150 patients who had undergone surgical repair of the Achilles tendon were randomised to either treatment with IPC for six hours per day (n = 74) under an orthosis or treatment as usual (n = 74) in a plaster cast without IPC. At two weeks post-operatively, the incidence of deep vein thrombosis was assessed using blinded, double-reported compression duplex ultrasound. At this point, IPC was discontinued and all patients were immobilised in an orthosis for a further four weeks. At six weeks post-operatively, a second compression duplex ultrasound scan was performed.

At two weeks, the incidence of deep vein thrombosis was 21% in the treated group and 37% in the control group (p = 0.042). Age over 39 years was found to be a strong risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (odds ratio (OR) = 4.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.14 to 10.96). Treatment with IPC, corrected for age differences between groups, reduced the risk of deep vein thrombosis at the two-week point (OR = 2.60; 95% CI 1.15 to 5.91; p =0.022). At six weeks, the incidence of deep vein thrombosis was 52% in the treated group and 48% in the control group (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.83). IPC appears to be an effective method of reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis in the early stages of post-operative immobilisation of outpatients. Further research is necessary to elucidate whether it can confer similar benefits over longer periods of immobilisation and in a more heterogeneous group of patients.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2015;97-B:675–80.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 96-B, Issue 11 | Pages 1515 - 1519
1 Nov 2014
Allen D Sale G

Although patients with a history of venous thromboembolism (VTE) who undergo lower limb joint replacement are thought to be at high risk of further VTE, the actual rate of recurrence has not been reported.

The purpose of this study was to identify the recurrence rate of VTE in patients who had undergone lower limb joint replacement, and to compare it with that of patients who had undergone a joint replacement without a history of VTE.

From a pool of 6646 arthroplasty procedures (3344 TKR, 2907 THR, 243 revision THR, 152 revision TKR) in 5967 patients (68% female, mean age 67.7; 21 to 96) carried out between 2009 and 2011, we retrospectively identified 118 consecutive treatment episodes in 106 patients (65% female, mean age 70; 51 to 88,) who had suffered a previous VTE. Despite mechanical prophylaxis and anticoagulation with warfarin, we had four recurrences by three months (3.4% of 118) and six by one year (5.1% of 118). In comparison, in all our other joint replacements the rate of VTE was 0.54% (35/6528).

The relative risk of a VTE by 90 days in patients who had undergone a joint replacement with a history of VTE compared with those with a joint replacement and no history of VTE was 6.3 (95% confidence interval, 2.3 to 17.5). There were five complications in the previous VTE group related to bleeding or over-anticoagulation.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:1515–19.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 96-B, Issue 10 | Pages 1349 - 1354
1 Oct 2014
Conway J Mansour J Kotze K Specht S Shabtai L

The treatment of infected nonunions is difficult. Antibiotic cement-coated (ACC) rods provide stability as well as delivering antibiotics. We conducted a review of 110 infected nonunions treated with ACC rods. Patients were divided into two groups: group A (67 patients) with an infected arthrodesis, and group B (43 patients) with an infected nonunion in a long bone. In group A, infected arthrodesis, the success rate after the first procedure was 38/67 (57%), 29/67 (43%) required further surgery for either control of infection or non-union. At last follow-up, five patients required amputation, representing a limb salvage rate of 62/67 (93%) overall. In all, 29/67 (43%) presented with a bone defect with a mean size of 6.78 cm (2 to 25). Of those with a bone defect, 13/29 (45%) required further surgery and had a mean size of defect of 7.2 cm (3.5 to 25). The cultures were negative in 17/67 (26%) and the most common organism cultured was methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) (23/67, (35%)). In group B, long bones nonunion, the success rate after the first procedure was 26/43 (60%), 17/43 (40%) required further surgery for either control of infection or nonunion. The limb salvage rate at last follow-up was 43/43 (100%). A total of 22/43 (51%) had bone defect with a mean size of 4.7 cm (1.5 to 11.5). Of those patients with a bone defect, 93% required further surgery with a mean size of defect of 5.4 cm (3 to 8.5). The cultures were negative in 10/43 (24%) and the most common organism cultured was MRSA, 15/43 (35%). ACC rods are an effective form of treatment for an infected nonunion, with an acceptable rate of complications.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014; 96-B:1349–54

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 96-B, Issue 6 | Pages 783 - 788
1 Jun 2014
Kanakaris N Gudipati S Tosounidis T Harwood P Britten S Giannoudis PV

Intramedullary infection in long bones represents a complex clinical challenge, with an increasing incidence due to the increasing use of intramedullary fixation. We report a prospective case series using an intramedullary reaming device, the Reamer–Irrigator–Aspirator (RIA) system, in association with antibiotic cement rods for the treatment of lower limb long bone infections. A total of 24 such patients, 16 men and eight women, with a mean age of 44.5 years (17 to 75), 14 with femoral and 10 with tibial infection, were treated in a staged manner over a period of 2.5 years in a single referral centre. Of these, 21 patients had had previous surgery, usually for fixation of a fracture (seven had sustained an open fracture originally and one had undergone fasciotomies). According to the Cierny–Mader classification system, 18 patients were classified as type 1A, four as 3A (discharging sinus tract), one as type 4A and one as type 1B. Staphylococcus species were isolated in 20 patients (83.3%). Local antibiotic delivery was used in the form of impregnated cement rods in 23 patients. These were removed at a mean of 2.6 months (1 to 5). Pathogen-specific antibiotics were administered systemically for a mean of six weeks (3 to 18). At a mean follow-up of 21 months (8 to 36), 23 patients (96%) had no evidence of recurrent infection. One underwent a planned trans-tibial amputation two weeks post-operatively due to peripheral vascular disease and chronic recalcitrant osteomyelitis of the tibia and foot. The combination of RIA reaming, the administration of systemic pathogen-specific antibiotics and local delivery using impregnated cement rods proved to be a safe and efficient form of treatment in these patients.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014; 96-B:783–8.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1667 - 1672
1 Dec 2013
Oh C Apivatthakakul T Oh J Kim J Lee H Kyung H Baek S Jung G

Although gradual bone transport may permit the restoration of large-diameter bones, complications are common owing to the long duration of external fixation. In order to reduce such complications, a new technique of bone transport involving the use of an external fixator and a locking plate was devised for segmental tibial bone defects.

A total of ten patients (nine men, one woman) with a mean age at operation of 40.4 years (16 to 64) underwent distraction osteogenesis with a locking plate to treat previously infected post-traumatic segmental tibial defects. The locking plate was fixed percutaneously to bridge proximal and distal segments, and was followed by external fixation. After docking, percutaneous screws were fixed at the transported segment through plate holes. At the same time, bone grafting was performed at the docking site with the external fixator removed.

The mean defect size was 5.9 cm (3.8 to 9.3) and mean external fixation index was 13.4 days/cm (11.8 to 19.5). In all cases, primary union of the docking site and distraction callus was achieved, with an excellent bony result. There was no recurrence of deep infection or osteomyelitis, and with the exception of one patient with a pre-existing peroneal nerve injury, all achieved an excellent or good functional result.

With short external fixation times and low complication rates, bone transport with a locking plate could be recommended for patients with segmental tibial defects.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1667–72.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1673 - 1680
1 Dec 2013
Papakostidis C Bhandari M Giannoudis PV

We carried out a systematic review of the literature to evaluate the evidence regarding the clinical results of the Ilizarov method in the treatment of long bone defects of the lower limbs.

Only 37 reports (three non-randomised comparative studies, one prospective study and 33 case-series) met our inclusion criteria. Although several studies were unsatisfactory in terms of statistical heterogeneity, our analysis appears to show that the Ilizarov method of distraction osteogenesis significantly reduced the risk of deep infection in infected osseous lesions (risk ratio 0.14 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.10 to 0.20), p < 0.001). However, there was a rate of re-fracture of 5% (95% CI 3 to 7), with a rate of neurovascular complications of 2.2% (95% CI 0.3 to 4) and an amputation rate of 2.9% (95% CI 1.4 to 4.4).The data was generally not statistically heterogeneous. Where tibial defects were > 8 cm, the risk of re-fracture increased (odds ratio 3.7 (95% CI 1.1 to 12.5), p = 0.036).

The technique is demanding for patients, illustrated by the voluntary amputation rate of 1.6% (95% CI 0 to 3.1), which underlines the need for careful patient selection.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1673–80.

Bone & Joint Research
Vol. 2, Issue 10 | Pages 227 - 232
1 Oct 2013
Kearney RS Parsons N Costa ML


To conduct a pilot randomised controlled trial to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a larger trial to evaluate the difference in Victorian Institute of Sports Assessment-Achilles (VISA-A) scores at six months between patients with Achilles tendinopathy treated with a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection compared with an eccentric loading programme.


Two groups of patients with mid-substance Achilles tendinopathy were randomised to receive a PRP injection or an eccentric loading programme. A total of 20 patients were randomised, with a mean age of 49 years (35 to 66). All outcome measures were recorded at baseline, six weeks, three months and six months.

The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 9 | Pages 1227 - 1231
1 Sep 2013
Domeij-Arverud E Latifi A Labruto F Nilsson G Ackermann PW

We hypothesised that adjuvant intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) beneath a plaster cast would reduce the risk of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) during post-operative immobilisation of the lower limb. Of 87 patients with acute tendo Achillis (TA) rupture, 26 were prospectively randomised post-operatively after open TA repair. The treatment group (n = 14) received two weeks of IPC of the foot for at least six hours daily under a plaster cast. The control group (n = 12) had no additional treatment. At two weeks post-operatively all patients received an orthosis until follow-up at six weeks. At two and six weeks the incidence of DVT was assessed using colour duplex sonography by two ultrasonographers blinded to the treatment. Two patients withdrew from the study due to inability to tolerate IPC treatment.

An interim analysis demonstrated a high incidence of DVT in both the IPC group (9 of 12, 75%) and the controls (6 of 12, 50%) (p = 0.18). No significant differences in incidence were detected at two (p = 0.33) or six weeks (p = 0.08) post-operatively. Malfunction of the IPC leading to a second plaster cast was found to correlate with an increased DVT risk at two weeks (φ = 0.71; p = 0.019), leading to a premature abandonment of the study.

We cannot recommend adjuvant treatment with foot IPC under a plaster cast for outpatient DVT prevention during post-operative immobilisation, owing to a high incidence of DVT related to malfunctioning of this type of IPC application.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1227–31.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 9 | Pages 1234 - 1240
1 Sep 2012
Willcox NMJ Clarke JV Smith BRK Deakin AH Deep K

We compared lower limb coronal alignment measurements obtained pre- and post-operatively with long-leg radiographs and computer navigation in patients undergoing primary total knee replacement (TKR). A series of 185 patients had their pre- and post-implant radiological and computer-navigation system measurements of coronal alignment compared using the Bland-Altman method. The study included 81 men and 104 women with a mean age of 68.5 years (32 to 87) and a mean body mass index of 31.7 kg/m2 (19 to 49). Pre-implant Bland–Altman limits of agreement were -9.4° to 8.6° with a repeatability coefficient of 9.0°. The Bland–Altman plot showed a tendency for the radiological measurement to indicate a higher level of pre-operative deformity than the corresponding navigation measurement. Post-implant limits of agreement were -5.0° to 5.4° with a repeatability coefficient of 5.2°. The tendency for valgus knees to have greater deformity on the radiograph was still seen, but was weaker for varus knees.

The alignment seen or measured intra-operatively during TKR is not necessarily the same as the deformity seen on a standing long-leg radiograph either pre- or post-operatively. Further investigation into the effect of weight-bearing and surgical exposure of the joint on the mechanical femorotibial angle is required to enable the most appropriate intra-operative alignment to be selected.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 9 | Pages 1241 - 1245
1 Sep 2012
Burghardt RD Paley D Specht SC Herzenberg JE

Internal lengthening devices in the femur lengthen along the anatomical axis, potentially creating lateral shift of the mechanical axis. We aimed to determine whether femoral lengthening along the anatomical axis has an inadvertent effect on lower limb alignment. Isolated femoral lengthening using the Intramedullary Skeletal Kinetic Distractor was performed in 27 femora in 24 patients (mean age 32 years (16 to 57)). Patients who underwent simultaneous realignment procedures or concurrent tibial lengthening, or who developed mal- or nonunion, were excluded. Pre-operative and six-month post-operative radiographs were used to measure lower limb alignment. The mean lengthening achieved was 4.4 cm (1.5 to 8.0). In 26 of 27 limbs, the mechanical axis shifted laterally by a mean of 1.0 mm/cm of lengthening (0 to 3.5). In one femur that was initially in varus, a 3 mm medial shift occurred during a lengthening of 2.2 cm.

In a normally aligned limb, intramedullary lengthening along the anatomical axis of the femur results in a lateral shift of the mechanical axis by approximately 1 mm for each 1 cm of lengthening.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 5 | Pages 660 - 662
1 May 2012
Aldridge SE Heilpern GNA Carmichael JR Sprowson AP Wood DG

Incomplete avulsion of the proximal hamstrings can be a severely debilitating injury that causes weakness, pain while sitting and inability to run. The results of the surgical treatment of 23 consecutive patients with such injuries at least two years after surgery are described. The surgery consisted of the repair of the hamstrings directly onto the ischial tuberosity. At review, using a visual analogue scale (VAS, 0 to 100), pain while sitting improved from a mean of 40 (0 to 100) to 64 (0 to 100) (p = 0.024), weakness from a mean of 39 (0 to 90) to 76 (7 to 100) (p = 0.0001) and the ability to run from a mean of 24 (0 to 88) to 64 (0 to 95) (p = 0.0001). According to a VAS, satisfaction was rated at a mean of 81 (0 to 100) and 20 patients (87%) would have the same procedure again. Hamstring strength measured pre- and post-operatively had improved significantly from a mean of 64% (0% to 95%) to 88% (50% to 114%) compared with the normal side.

Most of these patients with symptomatic incomplete hamstring avulsions unresponsive to conservative treatment had an improved outcome after surgical repair.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 5 | Pages 663 - 667
1 May 2012
Ortiz C Wagner E Mocoçain P Labarca G Keller A Del Buono A Maffulli N

We tested four types of surgical repair for load to failure and distraction in a bovine model of Achilles tendon repair. A total of 20 fresh bovine Achilles tendons were divided transversely 4 cm proximal to the calcaneal insertion and randomly repaired using the Dresden technique, a Krackow suture, a triple-strand Dresden technique or a modified oblique Dresden technique, all using a Fiberwire suture. Each tendon was loaded to failure. The force applied when a 5 mm gap was formed, peak load to failure, and mechanism of failure were recorded. The resistance to distraction was significantly greater for the triple technique (mean 246.1 N (205 to 309) to initial gapping) than for the Dresden (mean 180 N (152 to 208); p = 0.012) and the Krackow repairs (mean 101 N (78 to 112; p < 0.001). Peak load to failure was significantly greater for the triple-strand repair (mean 675 N (453 to 749)) than for the Dresden (mean 327.8 N (238 to 406); p < 0.001), Krackow (mean 223.6 N (210 to 252); p <  0.001) and oblique repairs (mean 437.2 N (372 to 526); p < 0.001). Failure of the tendon was the mechanism of failure for all specimens except for the tendons sutured using the Krackow technique, where the failure occurred at the knot.

The triple-strand technique significantly increased the tensile strength (p = 0.0001) and gap resistance (p = 0.01) of bovine tendon repairs, and might have advantages in human application for accelerated post-operative rehabilitation.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 94-B, Issue 1 | Pages 75 - 79
1 Jan 2012
Herscovici, Jr D Scaduto JM

The use of autograft bone is the best option when undertaking a procedure that requires bone graft because it is osteogenic, osteoconductive and osseo-inductive. Pain, morbidity and complications associated with harvesting iliac or non-iliac sites occur in between 6% and 30% of cases. An alternative source of graft with possibly a lower morbidity is the intramedullary canal. In this study, 28 patients undergoing 30 arthrodesis procedures on the hindfoot had a mean of 48 cm3 (43 to 50) of bone harvested locally from the hindfoot or the tibial shaft by antegrade or retrograde reaming. No patient sustained a fracture of the calcaneum, talus or tibia. There was no morbidity except for one complication when the reamer breached the medial tibial cortex. This healed uneventfully.

This method of using the reamer–irrigator–aspirator system is an extension of the standard technique of intramedullary reaming of the lower limb: it produces good-quality bone graft with viable growth factors consistent with that of the iliac crest, and donor site morbidity is low. This is an efficient method of obtaining autologous bone for use in arthrodesis of the ankle or hindfoot.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 7 | Pages 928 - 931
1 Jul 2011
Waton A Kakwani R Cooke NJ Litchfield D Kok D Middleton H Irwin L

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of right leg restriction at the knee, ankle or both, on a driver’s braking times. Previous studies have not investigated the effects of knee restriction on braking performance. A total of 23 healthy drivers performed a series of emergency braking tests in a driving simulator in either an above-knee plaster cast, a below-knee cast, or in a knee brace with an increasing range of restriction. The study showed that total braking reaction time was significantly longer when wearing an above-knee plaster cast, a below-knee plaster cast or a knee brace fixed at 0°, compared with braking normally (p < 0.001). Increases in the time taken to move the foot from the accelerator to the brake accounted for some of the increase in the total braking reaction time. Unexpectedly, thinking time also increased with the level of restriction (p < 0.001). The increase in braking time with an above-knee plaster cast in this study would increase the stopping distance at 30 miles per hour by almost 3 m.

These results suggest that all patients wearing any lower-limb plaster cast or knee brace are significantly impaired in their ability to perform an emergency stop. We suggest changes to the legislation to prevent patients from driving with lower-limb plaster casts or knee braces.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 6 | Pages 788 - 792
1 Jun 2011
Schiedel FM Pip S Wacker S Pöpping J Tretow H Leidinger B Rödl R

We report the results of intramedullary leg lengthening conducted between 2002 and 2009 using the Intramedullary Skeletal Kinetic Distractor in 69 unilateral lengthenings involving 58 femora and 11 tibiae. We identified difficulties that occurred during the treatment and assessed whether they were specifically due to the implant or independent of it. Paley’s classification for evaluating problems, obstacles and complications with external fixators was adopted, and implant-specific difficulties were continuously noted. There were seven failures requiring premature removal of the device, in four due to nail breakage and three for other reasons, and five unsuccessful outcomes after completion of the lengthening. In all, 116 difficulties were noted in 45 patients, with only 24 having problem-free courses. In addition to the difficulties arising from the use of external fixators, there were almost the same number again of implant-specific difficulties.

Nevertheless, successful femoral lengthening was achieved in 52 of the 58 patients (90%). However, successful tibial lengthening was only achieved in five of 11 patients (45%).

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 93-B, Issue 6 | Pages 782 - 787
1 Jun 2011
Sun X Easwar TR Manesh S Ryu J Song S Kim S Song H

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.