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Int Orthop. 2003;27(4):217-22. Epub 2003 May 14.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the growth plate in late-onset tibia vara.

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Clinic of Orthopaedics, Medical University of Lodz, Drewnowska Str. 75, Pl 91-002, Lodz, Poland.


We used Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in five patients (six knees), mean age 13.2 (12-15) years, with late-onset tibia vara (Blount's disease), to study the growth plate and its abnormalities. The MRI study was classified for severity of disease and compared with a radiographic classification. In severely involved knees, MRI indicated severe growth-plate changes on both sides of the knee joint. Widening in the entire proximal tibial growth plate, involvement of the distal femoral growth plate, as well as cartilage invaginations into the metaphyses, were constant findings. Three knees were treated operatively with oblique tibial osteotomy and three with lateral hemiepiphysiodesis. Two severely involved patients treated initially with hemiepiphysiodesis required additional surgery. The three patients with mild disease treated with tibial osteotomy had good clinical and functional results. This study suggests that extensive growth-plate changes in severe, late-onset tibia vara preclude successful treatment by tibial hemiepiphysiodesis. In addition, oblique osteotomy, which was successful in mild cases, was problematic in severe cases.

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