Correction of Tibial Torsion in Children With Cerebral Palsy by Isolated Distal Tibia Rotation Osteotomy: A Short-term, In Vivo Anatomic Study

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Abstract

Background:

Excessive internal or external tibial torsion is frequently present in children with cerebral palsy. Several surgical techniques have been described to correct excessive tibial torsion, including isolated distal tibial rotation osteotomy (TRO). The anatomic changes surrounding this technique are poorly understood. The goal of the study was to examine the anatomic relationship between the tibia and fibula following isolated distal TRO in children with cerebral palsy.

Methods:

Twenty patients with 29 limbs were prospectively entered for study. CT scans of the proximal and distal tibiofibular (TF) articulations were obtained preoperatively, at 6 weeks, and 1 year postoperatively. Measurements of tibia and fibula torsion were performed at each interval. Qualitative assessments of proximal and distal TF joint congruency were also performed.

Results:

The subjects with internal tibia torsion (ITT, 19 limbs) showed significant torsional changes for the tibia between preoperative, postoperative, and 1 year time points (mean torsion 13.21, 31.05, 34.84 degrees, respectively). Measurement of fibular torsion in the ITT treatment group also showed significant differences between time points (mean −36.77, −26.77, −18.54 degrees, respectively). Proximal and distal TF joints remained congruent at all time points in the study.

Results:

Subjects with external tibia torsion (ETT, 10 limbs) showed significant differences between preoperative and postoperative tibial torsion, but not between postoperative and 1 year (mean torsion 54, 19.3, 23.3 degrees, respectively). Measurement of fibular torsion in the ETT treatment group did not change significantly between preoperative and postoperative, but did change significantly between postoperative and 1 year (mean torsion −9.8,−16.9, −30.7 degrees, respectively). Nine of 10 proximal TF joints were found to be subluxated at 6 weeks postoperatively. At 1 year, all 9 of these joints had reduced.

Conclusions:

Correction of ITT by isolated distal tibial external rotation osteotomy resulted in acute external fibular torsion. The fibular torsion alignment remodeled over time to accommodate the corrected tibial torsional alignment and reduce the strain associated with the plastic deformity of the fibula. Correction of ETT by isolated distal internal TRO resulted in acute subluxation of the proximal TF articulation in almost all cases. Subsequent torsional remodeling of the fibula resulted in correction of the TF subluxation in all cases. Acute correction of TT by isolated distal TRO occurs by distinct mechanisms, based upon the direction of rotational correction.

Level of Evidence:

Level II—Diagnostic.

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