Objectives: We evaluated the results of lengthening of congenitally short metacarpus and metatarsus by the callus distraction technique.
Methods: We treated congenitally short metacarpus (n=7) and metatarsus (n=4) of five patients (4 females, 1 male; mean age 15 years; range 10 to 21 years) by callotasis. Callus distraction was performed with the use of mini-Orthofix or Ilizarov type semicircular external fixators. The distraction rate was 0.25x2 mm/day for both types. The mean follow-up period was 23 months (range 12 to 33 months).
Results: The mean metacarpal and metatarsal lengthenings were 20 mm (range 15 to 25 mm) and 25 mm (range 20 to 30 mm), respectively. The mean healing index was 1.4 months/cm for metacarpal lengthening, and 1.8 months/cm for metatarsal lengthening. No neurovascular complications were encountered. One patient required autogenous fibular grafting for union. Pin tract infections were found in three patients. The overall complication rate was 36%.
Conclusion: Callotasis is an effective and reliable method for lengthening of short metacarpal and metatarsal bones. In addition, it preserves the periosteal bone tissues, which has a favorable effect on the duration of treatment.