Implantation of a soft-tissue expander before operation for club foot in children

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Primary skin closure after surgery for club foot in children can be difficult especially in revision operations.Between 1990 and 1996 a soft-tissue expander was implanted in 13 feet before such procedures. Two were primary operations and 11 were revisions. A standard technique was used for implantation of the expander. Skin augmentation was successful in 11 cases. There was failure of one expander and one case of wound infection. Sufficient stable skin could be gained at an average of five weeks. Primary skin closure after surgery was achieved in 12 cases.

We conclude that soft-tissue expansion can be used successfully before extensive surgery for club foot. The method should be reserved for revision procedures and for older children. The technique is not very demanding, but requires experience to achieve successful results.

J Bone Joint Surg [Br] 1999;81-B:398-401.

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