Ten patients, who were unsuitable for limb lengthening over an intramedullary nail, underwent lengthening with a submuscular locking plate. Their mean age at operation was 18.5 years (11 to 40). After fixing a locking plate submuscularly on the proximal segment, an external fixator was applied to lengthen the bone after corticotomy. Lengthening was at 1 mm/day and on reaching the target length, three or four screws were placed in the plate in the distal segment and the external fixator was removed. All patients achieved the preoperative target length at a mean of 4.0 cm (3.2 to 5.5). The mean duration of external fixation was 61.6 days (45 to 113) and the mean external fixation index was 15.1 days/cm (13.2 to 20.5), which was less than one-third of the mean healing index (48 days/cm (41.3 to 55). There were only minor complications. Lengthening with a submuscular locking plate can successfully permit early removal of the fixator with fewer complications and is a useful alternative in children or when nailing is difficult.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine