Introduction: Long-leg radiographs are used to plan and supervise the correction of bone deformity in patients treated with the Taylor Spatial Frame (TSF). Often radiographs are performed with malpositioning of the limb leading to wrong alignment measurements. The aim of this retrospective study was to show the usefulness of a simple device which might enhance the reproducibility of limb rotation on long-leg radiographs.
Materials and methods: We included 20 consecutive patients with TSF treatment and at least three long-leg radiographs (4.9 ± 1.3). Eight out of 20 patients received radiographs with the help of a rotation rod (device with two clamps and a carbon tube). It is placed at the most frontal tab of the reference ring while conducting the radiograph. By this means, limb rotation can be controlled. To show the usefulness of this device, two observers measured the relation of the distances between the middle of the reference ring to the medial and lateral fourth hole on the reference ring (TSF-RR). The standard deviation and range of the TSF-RR of all radiographs for each patient was calculated and compared between patients without and with the rotation rod.
Results: The standard deviations of TSF-RR in patients without the rotation rod was significantly higher compared to patients with rotation rod (observer 1: p = 0.0228, observer 2: p = 0.0038). Also, the range of the TSF-RR within one patient is significant higher (observer 1: p = 0.0279, observer 2: p = 0.0038) in patients without the rotation rod compared to patients with the rotation rod.
Conclusions: The variability of rotation on radiographs was lower with the rotation rod. Therefore, more reproducible and better comparable radiographs can be conducted. Radiologic exposure might be reduced as repetition of wrongly positioned limbs on radiographs are less frequent.
Keywords: External fixator; Hexapod; Long-leg radiographs; Rotation; TSF.