Analysis of risk factors for nonunion in pediatric lateral column lengthening

J Pediatr Orthop B. 2022 Nov 14. doi: 10.1097/BPB.0000000000001026. Online ahead of print.


The lateral column lengthening procedure is a commonly used osteotomy for correction of pes planus performed by inserting a graft in the anterior aspect of the calcaneus through a transverse osteotomy. Though nonunion and calcaneo-cuboid subluxation have been previously reported, these complications have not been extensively studied in pediatric patients. After IRB approval, 111 patients (151 feet) who underwent lateral column lengthening at a single institution were identified. Fifty-three females (70 feet) and 58 males (81 feet) with an average age of 11.4 years (2.6 SD; range 5-17) were analyzed. The primary outcome was nonunion defined as a lack of radiographic evidence of osteotomy healing by 9 months. Underlying diagnosis, pre and postoperative radiographic measurements, age, operative technique, fixation, calcaneo-cuboid subluxation, graft material and concomitant procedures were analyzed for their relationship to nonunion. Nonunion occurred in 7 of 151 feet (4.6%). Patient age at the time of surgery and calcaneo-cuboid subluxation trended toward a significant association with nonunion (P = 0.053, 0.054, respectively). The degree of surgical correction, as determined by radiographic analysis, and the use of calcaneo-cuboid fixation were not significantly associated with nonunion. None of the other factors evaluated were significantly associated with nonunion. There were three cases of postoperative infections (2.0%), two were superficial and 1 (0.7%) was deep. Thirty-five of 151 feet disclosed radiographic evidence of subluxation. Excluding subluxation, the overall complication rate was 8.6%. Nonunion occurred in 4.6% of pediatric feet undergoing lateral column lengthening. Fixation type was not significantly associated with nonunion. Older age at the time of surgery and calcaneocuboid subluxation trended towards significance. The placement of a calcaneo-cuboid pin was not found to be a significant factor in preventing calcaneo-cuboid subluxation or nonunion.