The traditional techniques involving an oblique tunnel or triangular wedge resection to approach a central or mixed-type physeal bar are hindered by poor visualisation of the bar. This may be overcome by a complete transverse osteotomy at the metaphysis near the growth plate or a direct vertical approach to the bar. Ilizarov external fixation using small wires allows firm fixation of the short physis-bearing fragment, and can also correct an associated angular deformity and permit limb lengthening.
We accurately approached and successfully excised ten central- or mixed-type bars; six in the distal femur, two in the proximal tibia and two in the distal tibia, without damaging the uninvolved physis, and corrected the associated angular deformity and leg-length discrepancy. Callus formation was slightly delayed because of periosteal elevation and stretching during resection of the bar. The resultant resection of the bar was satisfactory in seven patients and fair in three as assessed using a by a modified Williamson-Staheli classification.