Background and purpose: Bilateral tibial lengthening has become one of the standard treatments for upper segment-lower segment disproportion and to improve quality of life in achondroplasia. We determined the effect of tibial lengthening on the tibial physis and compared tibial growth that occurred at the physis with that in non-operated patients with acondroplasia. Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of serial radiographs until skeletal maturity in 23 achondroplasia patients who underwent bilateral tibial lengthening before skeletal maturity (lengthening group L) and 12 achondroplasia patients of similar height and age who did not undergo tibial lengthening (control group C). The mean amount of lengthening of tibia in group L was 9.2 cm (lengthening percentage: 60%) and the mean age at the time of lengthening was 8.2 years. The mean duration of follow- up was 9.8 years. Results: Skeletal maturity (fusion of physis) occurred at 15.2 years in group L and at 16.0 years in group C. The actual length of tibia (without distraction) at skeletal maturity was 238 mm in group L and 277 mm in group C (p = 0.03). The mean growth rates showed a decrease in group L relative to group C from about 2 years after surgery. Physeal closure was most pronounced on the anterolateral proximal tibial physis, with relative preservation of the distal physis. Interpretation: Our findings indicate that physeal growth rate can be disturbed after tibial lengthening in achondroplasia, and a close watch should be kept for such an occurrence-especially when lengthening of more than 50% is attempted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine