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J Pediatr Orthop. 1992 Nov-Dec;12(6):806-10.

Long-term effects of neonatal bone and joint infection on adjacent growth plates.

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  • 1Section of Orthopaedics, Winnipeg Children's Hospital, Canada.


Review of children with physeal damage from neonatal infection other than the hip at Winnipeg Children's Hospital showed that six patients had residual growth interference from adjacent infection in the bone or joint. Several of the infections involved multiple joints, with growth plate arrest occurring in the distal femoral growth plate in four, in the proximal humerus in four, in the proximal femur in two, in the distal radius in one, and in the distal humerus in one. Although the initial infection was frequently believed to be successfully treated in the neonate, the clinical effect of these infections on the growth plate was not fully appreciated in five of the infants until the children reached a mean age of 9 years. Because growth abnormalities in physeal bars may not be clinically evident for several years after the initial infection has been treated, we recommend that children with bone and joint infections occurring in the first month of life be followed to skeletal maturity, observing the adjacent physis for late tethering.

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