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This article is the author’s final published version in Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Global Research and Reviews, Volume 7, Issue 5, May 2023, Article number e23.00053.

The published version is available at Copyright © American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Background: Fixator-assisted nailing techniques that incorporate magnetic internal lengthening nails (MILNs) permit acute deformity correction and then gradual limb lengthening without needing postoperative external fixators.

Purposes: We sought to investigate the safety and accuracy of a fixator-assisted, blocking screw technique using retrograde MILNs for the correction of LLD and limb malalignment.

Methods: Forty-one patients (13 patients with genu varum and 28 patients with genu valgum) with LLD treated with fixator-assisted, blocking screw retrograde MILN reconstruction were included. Preoperative LLD, mechanical axis deviation, and joint orientation angles were compared with values at the end of treatment, and bone healing indices were calculated. Perioperative complications were tracked.

Results: Preoperatively, the mean mechanical lateral distal femoral angle of the varus cohort was 98 ± 12°, whereas the mean lateral distal femoral angle of the valgus cohort was 82±4°. Both cohorts had an average 3-cm LLD. 99% of the planned limb lengthening was achieved. Final LDFAs were 91 ± 6° and 89 ± 4° in the varus and valgus cohorts, respectively, and the limb mechanical axis angles were normalized. 10 patients underwent a total of 21 returns to the operating room. Most commonly, this involved percutaneous injection of bone marrow aspirate concentrate to bone regenerate exhibiting delayed union (6 patients).

Conclusions: The use of a retrograde MILN with a fixator-assisted, blocking screw technique is an effective means of acute deformity correction and gradual limb lengthening through minimal incisions. The accuracy of deformity correction relies on intraoperative execution of the appropriate nail start site, osteotomy location, and placement of blocking screws.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.