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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2010 Nov;92(11):1563-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.92B11.23500.

Early or delayed limb lengthening after acute shortening in the treatment of traumatic below-knee amputations and Gustilo and Anderson type IIIC open tibial fractures: The results of a case series.

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Medical Park Goztepe Hospital, E5 Karayolu, Goztepe Kavsagi, Goztepe, Istanbul, Turkey.


We present the results of 13 patients who suffered severe injuries to the lower leg. Five sustained a traumatic amputation and eight a Gustilo-Anderson type IIIC open fracture. All were treated with debridement, acute shortening and stabilisation of the fracture and vascular reconstruction. Further treatment involved restoration of tibial length by callus distraction through the distal or proximal metaphysis, which was commenced soon after the soft tissues had healed (n = 8) or delayed until union of the fracture (n = 5). All patients were male with a mean age of 28.4 years (17 to 44), and had sustained injury to the leg only. Chen grade II functional status was achieved in all patients. Although the number of patients treated with each strategy was limited, there was no obvious disadvantage in the early lengthening programme, which was completed more quickly.

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