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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Oct;451:113-20.

Hybrid external fixation for arthrodesis in knee sepsis.

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Department of Trauma, Hand, Plastic, and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


Several techniques for knee fusion have been described with success rates ranging from 29% to 100%, with worse results occurring in patients with joint sepsis. We treated 21 patients with persistent infections using knee arthrodesis with a hybrid Ilizarov frame at our institution. There were 13 men and eight women ranging from 21 to 75 years (mean, 49.7 years). Sixteen patients had chronic osteomyelitis and five had previous fusion trials. Two patients required bone transport using the same arthrodesis frame. We corrected associated malalignment in three patients. Solid knee fusion was achieved in all but one patient after a mean external fixation time of 22.7 weeks (range, 11-47 weeks). Limb shortening averaged 2.8 cm (range, 1.5-5 cm). No patients required secondary bone grafting to achieve fusion. Nine patients had complications develop, three of whom required reresection and frame application to treat persistent infection or delayed union. Our results emphasize the clinical success of using the Ilizarov fixator for knee arthrodesis after persistent sepsis.

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