Femoral lengthening over an intramedullary nail using the external fixator: Risk of infection and knee problems in 22 patients with a follow-up of 2 years or more

Hae Ryong Song, Chang W. Oh, Rakesh Mattoo, Byung Chul Park, Sung Jung Kim, Il Hyung Park, In H. Jeon, Joo Chul Ihn

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Background: The time for femoral lengthening is shortened if external fixation is combined with intramedullary nailing. However, several complications have been reported with this procedure. Patients and methods: We retrospectively reviewed the outcome of femoral lengthening performed over an intramedullary nail using external fixation in 22 patients. These patients were followed for a mean of 3.2 (2-5.2) years. The mean age was 22 (13-35) years at the time of the index procedure. The mean lengthening was 5 (2.7-8.1) cm and the external fixator was removed after median 20 (8-30) weeks. The mean external fixation index was 24 (11-35) days/cm and the mean consolidation index was 43 (26-55) days/cm of lengthening. Results: 3 patients who had a past history of infection or open trauma developed osteomyelitis which required removal of the nail. There were 4 knee joint complications when the lengthening was over 20%, including posterior knee subluxation and patella subluxation. In 1 patient, the lengthened segment collapsed with breakage of locking screws. Interpretation: Although lengthening over a nail can reduce the duration of external fixation, caution is required to prevent major complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Apr 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery

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