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Distal Tibial Reconstruction with Use of a Circular External Fixator and an Intramedullary NailThe Combined Technique
Levent Eralp, MD1; Mehmet Kocaoglu, MD1; Nazri Mohd Yusof, MMed(Ortho)2; Murat Bulbul, MD3
1 Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Istanbul Medical School, Istanbul University, Capa 34390, Istanbul, Turkey. E-mail address for L. Eralp: yeralp@superonline.com
2 Kulliyyah of Medicine, International Islamic University of Malaysia, Jalan Hospital, 25150 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia
3 Vakif Gureba Training Hospital, 34380 Topkapi, Istanbul, Turkey
View Disclosures and Other Information
Disclosure: The authors did not receive any outside funding or grants in support of their research for or preparation of this work. Neither they nor a member of their immediate families received payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Istanbul Medical School, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2007 Oct 01;89(10):2218-2224. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.01579
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Abstract

Background: Distal tibial reconstruction with use of an external fixator when there is bone loss, limb-length discrepancy, and/or ankle instability is associated with many problems. The technique of limb-lengthening, ankle arthrodesis, and segmental transfer over an intramedullary nail has been introduced to overcome these problems. The present study investigates this combined technique.

Methods: Between 2002 and 2005, six patients, who ranged from seventeen to seventy years old, underwent distal tibial reconstruction and ankle arthrodesis with use of a circular external fixator and an intramedullary nail to treat a distal tibial defect following resection for chronic osteomyelitis or tumor or to treat a limb-length discrepancy combined with ankle instability. Functional and radiographic results were evaluated, with use of the criteria described by Paley et al., at an average follow-up of thirty-four months.

Results: The mean size of the bone defects in three patients was 5.3 cm (2, 7, and 7 cm), and the mean amount of the limb-shortening in four patients was 5.25 cm (range, 4 to 6 cm). The mean external fixation time was 3.5 months, and the mean external fixator index was 0.57 mo/cm. There was no recurrence of infection in the two patients with osteomyelitis. All six patients had excellent bone results, and the functional results were excellent for two patients and good for four patients. There were four complications, three of which were categorized, according to Paley, as a problem (a difficulty that occurs during lengthening and is resolved without operative intervention) and one that was categorized as an obstacle (a difficulty that occurs during lengthening and needs operative treatment).

Conclusions: The combined technique is an improvement over the classic external fixation techniques of distal tibial reconstruction with ankle arthrodesis. It reduces the duration of external fixation, thus increasing patient acceptance, and it is associated with a low complication rate facilitating more rapid rehabilitation.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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