Background: Lower extremity angular deformities are common in children with skeletal dysplasia and can be treated with various surgical options. Both acute correction by osteotomy with internal fixation and gradual correction by external fixation have been used with acceptable results. Recently, the Guided Growth concept using temporary hemiepiphysiodesis for correction of angular deformities in the growing child has been proposed. This study presents the results of temporary hemiepiphysiodesis using eight-Plates and medial malleolus transphyseal screws in children with skeletal dysplasia with lower extremity angular deformities.
Methods: Twenty-nine patients (50 lower extremities) with skeletal dysplasia of different types were treated for varus or valgus deformities at 2 centers. The mean age at the time of hemiepiphysiodesis was 10±2.9 years. A total of 66 eight-Plates and 12 medial malleolus screws were used. The average follow-up time between the index surgery and the latest follow-up with the eight-Plate in was 25±13.4 months. Erect long-standing anteroposterior and lateral view radiographs were obtained for deformity planning before the procedure. Angular deformities on radiograph were evaluated by mechanical axis deviation, mechanical lateral distal femoral angle, medial proximal tibial angle, and lateral distal tibial angle. Mechanical axis deviation was also expressed as a percentage to one half of the width of the tibial plateau, and the magnitude of the deformity was classified by determining the zones through which the mechanical axis of the lower extremity passed. Four zones were determined on both the medial and lateral side of the knee and the zones were labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4, corresponding to the severity of the deformity. A positive value was assigned for valgus alignment and a negative for varus alignment.
Results: Patients were analyzed in valgus and varus groups. There was correction in 34 of 38 valgus legs and 7 of 12 varus legs. In the valgus group, the mean preoperative and postoperative mechanical lateral distal femoral angles were 82.1±3.7 and 91.1±4.9 degrees, respectively (P<0.001). The mean preoperative and postoperative medial proximal tibial angles were 98.5±8 and 87.8±7.1 degrees, respectively (P<0.001). Six patients with bilateral ankle valgus deformities (12 ankles) underwent single-screw medial malleolus hemiepiphysiodesis. The mean preoperative and postoperative lateral distal tibial angles were 73.9±8.7 and 86.1±6.8 degrees, respectively (P<0.001). The numbers of plates in each anatomic location were not enough to make statistical conclusions in varus legs. Four patients in the valgus group and 3 patients in the varus group did not benefit from the procedure. Mechanical axes were in zone 2 or over in 94% of the legs preoperatively, whereas postoperatively, only 23% of the legs had mechanical axes in zone 2 or over in varus and valgus groups.
Conclusions: Growth modulation with an eight-Plate is a relatively simple surgery and has low risk of mechanical failure or physeal damage. It can be performed in very young patients, which is an important advantage in skeletal dysplasia. Screw purchase is reliable even in the abnormal epiphysis and metaphysis. Our results show that Guided Growth using eight-Plates in skeletal dysplasia is safe and effective.
Level of evidence: Level IV.