Delayed regenerate healing after distraction osteogenesis can be a challenging problem for patients and surgeons alike. In the present study, we retrospectively reviewed the data from a cohort of patients with delayed regenerate healing during gradual lengthening treatment of brachymetatarsia. Additionally, we present a novel technique developed by 1 of us (B.M.L.) for the management of delayed regenerate healing. We hypothesized that application of intramedullary metatarsal fixation would safely and effectively promote healing of poor quality, atrophic regenerate during bone lengthening in brachymetatarsia correction. We formulated a study to retrospectively review the data from a cohort of patients with delayed regenerate healing after gradual lengthening for brachymetatarsia. All patients underwent temporary placement of intramedullary fixation after identification of delayed regenerate healing. Patient-related variables and objective measurements were assessed. We identified 10 patients with 13 metatarsals treated with intramedullary fixation for delayed regenerate healing. All 10 patients were female, with 6 (46.2%) right metatarsals and 7 (53.8%) left metatarsals treated. No complications developed with the use of this technique. All subjects progressed to successful consolidation of the regenerate bone at a mean of 44.5 ± 30.2 days after placement of intramedullary metatarsal fixation. No regenerate fracture or reoperations were noted. In conclusion, intramedullary metatarsal fixation is a safe and effective method for managing delayed regenerate healing encountered during distraction osteogenesis correction of brachymetatarsia.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 4