A review for pediatricians on limb lengthening and the Ilizarov method.

By: Herbert AJ, Herzenberg JE, Paley D |Date: September 19, 2012|Source: Curr Opin Pediatr. 1995 Feb;7(1):98-105

A review for pediatricians on limb lengthening and the Ilizarov method.

Abstract

As recently as 1986, limb lengthening in children was considered by most North American orthopedic surgeons to be both dangerous and impractical. Previous attempts were plagued by unacceptably high rates of serious complications such as nerve palsy, deep infection, malunion, broken hardware, and stiff joints. With the recent introduction of the Russian Ilizarov method and apparatus for limb lengthening, a tremendous groundswell of interest has risen. Despite a steep learning curve, many Western centers have now reproduced Ilizarov’s clinical results. The important advances over prior methods are partly biologic and partly hardware related. Ilizarov’s principles require a minimally invasive, low-energy osteotomy, stable external fixation, a latency period before commencing distraction, and gradual lengthening of 1 mm/d in divided doses (0.25 mm four times per day). The article reviews the background of this new technique and provides an update on results reported over the past year. There is disagreement regarding precise indications for limb salvage (lengthening) of congenital limb deficiencies versus amputation. The role of extended lengthening in dwarfism also remains controversial.