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J Orthop Sci. 2003;8(1):20-5.

Ankle arthrodesis combined with tibial lengthening using the Ilizarov apparatus.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of Medicine, Kanazawa University, 13-1 Takara-machi, Kanazawa 920-8641, Japan.


We report our experience using the Ilizarov method to perform combined ankle arthrodesis and tibial lengthening in six patients (mean age 47 years; range 25-66 years). The average distraction length was 4.1 cm (range 1.1-6.8 cm), and the mean period of follow-up was 36 months (range 26-44 months). Three patients had active infection of the ankle. Four patients had undergone previous surgery, two of which were primary ankle arthrodeses. We performed compression-distraction in three patients and bone transport in three. In the compression-distraction group, the mean length gained was 1.9 cm, the mean external fixation index (EFI) was 144 days/cm, and the mean external fixation time was 246 days. In the bone transport group, the mean length gained was 6.2 cm, the mean EFI was 35.4 days/cm, and the mean external fixation time was 233 days. All cases achieved a good clinical result with a solid ankle arthrodesis and no infection, deformity, or need for additional support. The Ilizarov method may be practically applied for ankle arthrodesis, especially in complicated cases. The EFI and external fixation time tended to increase for patients with a length gain of 3 cm or less.

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