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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-11

Residual amputee limb segment lengthening: A systematic review

1 Macquarie School of Medicine Macquarie University, Queensland, Australia
2 Limb Reconstruction Centre, Macquarie University Hospital, Macquarie University, Queensland, Australia
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Queensland, Australia
4 Limb Salvage and Amputee Reconstruction Service, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Anuj Sharad Chavan
Macquarie School of Medicine Macquarie University, Suite 305, Level 3/2 Technology Pl, Macquarie Park NSW 2109
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jllr.jllr_17_22

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Aims: This study aimed to systematically review the indications, techniques, complications, and insights identified for lower extremity residual amputee limb segment lengthening. Methods: Searches in PubMed, Google Scholar, Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, and the Journal of Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction were performed using terms including “amputee,” “residual limb,” and “stump” combined with “lengthening,” “distraction,” “histogenesis,” “osteogenesis,” and “Callotasis.” Included articles described lengthening amputated tibias or femurs (other segments excluded). The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were utilized. Descriptive statistics were performed. Results: Twenty-two studies reported lengthening 32 femurs and 31 tibias (63 total segments). Fifteen articles described a single segment, five described two to four (15 total segments), and two described five or more (31 total segments). Lengthening was performed to improve prosthesis fit (21/22 studies, 54/63 segments) or to optimize osseointegration (1/22 studies, 9/63 segments) and utilized an external fixator (52/63) or a motorized intramedullary nail (11/63). Femurs were lengthened an average of 7.7 ± 2.5 cm (60% ± 23%) and tibias 5.8 ± 1.8 cm (97% ± 53%) from a starting length of 12.5 ± 4.6 cm for femurs and 6.7 ± 2.3 cm for tibias. The most common minor problem was pin site infection. The most common major problem was over-lengthening bone beyond the soft tissue envelope, requiring flap coverage, bone excision, or knee disarticulation. Conclusions: Amputee lengthening can achieve measurable gains to improve prosthesis use. Over-lengthening can be difficult to manage, if not catastrophic. Osseointegration may be a further rehabilitation solution for amputees struggling with prosthesis problems and willing to consider surgical options.

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