Lengthening With Monolateral External Fixation Versus Magnetically Motorized Intramedullary Nail in Congenital Femoral Deficiency

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Abstract

Background:

Limb lengthening for congenital femoral deficiency (CFD) with or without fibular hemimelia can be performed with both external and internal devices. The purpose of this study is to compare clinical outcomes of femoral lengthening utilizing monolateral external fixation versus a magnetically motorized intramedullary nail in patients with CFD with or without fibular hemimelia.

Methods:

This retrospective review included 62 patients with femoral lengthening, 32 patients had monolateral external fixation (group A), 30 patients had internal lengthening nail (group B). Mean age in years was 9.4±3.8 and 15.4±4.9 for groups A and B, respectively. Mean follow-up in years was 4.47±2.7 and 1.86±0.7 years for groups A and B, respectively.

Results:

Mean lengthening achieved was 5.6±1.7 and 4.8±1.4 cm for group A and group B, respectively (P=0.052). Mean distraction index was 0.7±0.2 mm/d for group A and 0.7±0.2 mm/d for the group B (P=0.99). Mean consolidation index for group A was 29.3±12.7 and 34.8±11.2 d/cm for group B (P=0.08). Mean arc of motion before surgery and at final follow-up were similar between groups (P=0.35). Group A had significantly less range of motion at the end of distraction (P=0.0007) and at consolidation (P<0.0001). Both groups had similar rates of obstacles and complications. A significant difference between groups was found in the total problems (P<0.001) specifically with pin site/superficial infection (P<0.0001).

Conclusions:

The intramedullary nail had superior range of motion during the lengthening phase and at consolidation and an overall lower problem complication rate, while maintaining similar distraction and healing indices to monolateral external fixation. Internal lengthening nails represent a significant advance in technology for CFD lengthening.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV—therapeutic.

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