Congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia in children: should we defer surgery until 3 years old?

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Abstract

Currently, the timing of surgery for congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia (CPT) remains controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the results of treatment of pseudarthrosis of the tibia in children younger than 3 years of age. A retrospective study was carried out to explore the relationship between postoperative complications and the age of surgery in children with CPT. The analysis was carried out on 42 patients with Crawford type IV CPT treated with a combined surgical technique between 2008 and 2012. Patients were divided into two groups according to their age: group A (<3 years) and group B (>3 years). The incidence rates of refracture, ankle valgus, tibial valgus, and limb-length discrepancy of the two groups were evaluated. Primary bone union was achieved in 28 out of 29 (97%) patients in group A and 12 out of 13 (92%) patients in group B (P>0.05). In group A, six (21%) patients developed a refracture; 14 (48%) patients had ankle valgus with a mean degree of 11° (range: 5°–25°); 11 (38%) patients had tibial valgus with a mean tibial valgus deformity of 8.6° (range: 5°–20°); and 12 (41%) patients had limb-length discrepancy with a mean limb length of 2.9 cm (range: 0.5–4 cm). In group B, five (38%) patients developed refracture; seven (54%) patients had ankle valgus with a mean degree of 14° (range: 5°–30°); seven (54%) patients had tibial valgus with a mean tibial valgus deformity of 10.7° (range: 5°–20°); and 10 (77%) patients had limb-length discrepancy with a mean limb length of 2.8 cm (range: 1.5–3 cm). Groups A and B were significantly different in limb-length discrepancy (P=0.033). This study suggests that there is no need to defer surgery for pseudarthrosis of the tibia until the child is older than 3 years of age.

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