Treatment of femoral discrepancy with magnetic intramedullary lengthening system
Post-traumatic limb-length discrepancies (LLDs), resulting from bone loss, malunion or premature growth arrest, are considered challenging problems for orthopedic surgeons, say US-American authors. Previous studies have described successful outcomes using external fixation devices, but this method has also been associated with a multitude of complications such as joint stiffness, pin site infection and patient dissatisfaction; similarly, serious complications have also been observed with internal lengthening techniques. The present study evaluated an alternative: a recently available magnetic intramedullary (IM) lengthening system. The study included 17 patients (mean age 30 years), the mean follow-up was 2.2 years.
Almost all patients (n=16) achieved the planned lengthening, a mean of 3.8 cm (range, 2.3–6.0 cm).
Regenerate consolidation occurred at a mean of 119 days (range, 57–209 days).
The mean consolidation index was 32 d/cm (range, 16–51 d/cm).
Complications arose in three patients (18 %).
The authors conclude that IM nails may be useful tools in the treatment of femoral post-traumatic injuries with no specific implant-related complications were observed in our cohort. Now, further trials with bigger cohorts should assess the effectiveness of lengthening nails used in conjunction with acute angular/rotational correction.