Does An Osteotomy Performed in Congenital Pseudarthrosis of the Tibia Heal?

Nickolas J. Nahm, Christopher A. Makarewich, Katherine A. Rosenwasser, John E. Herzenberg, Philip K. McClure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Shortening and deformity of the tibia commonly occur during the treatment of congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia (CPT). The role of osteotomies in lengthening and deformity correction remains controversial in CPT. This study evaluates the approach to and outcome after osteotomy performed in CPT. Methods: We performed an IRB approved retrospective review of consecutive patients with CPT treated at our institution from 2010 through 2019. Patients who underwent osteotomies were included in this study. Results: Nine patients (10 osteotomies - 5 proximal metaphyseal and 5 diaphyseal) with a median age at osteotomy of 8.9 years (range: 4 to 21 y) were included. Six patients had neurofibromatosis-1, 1 had cleidocranial dysplasia, and 2 patients had idiopathic CPT. Four osteotomies were performed for deformity correction, 3 osteotomies to allow intramedullary instrumentation, and 3 osteotomies for lengthening. Five osteotomies were preceded by zolendronate treatment before surgery. Nine were fixed with a rod supplemented with external fixation (7) or locking plates (2). One osteotomy was stabilized with locked intramedullary nailing alone. Four osteotomies were supplemented with autologous bone graft, and bone morphogenic protein-2 was utilized in 3 osteotomies. Median time to healing was 222.5 days (range: 124 to 323 d). One osteotomy (locked intramedullary nailing) required grafting at 5.5 months and then healed uneventfully. Median healing index for patients undergoing lengthening was 57.9 days/cm (range: 35 to 81 d/cm). All 3 osteotomies performed for lengthening required a second osteotomy for preconsolidation at a mean of 34 days. Other complications included compartment syndrome requiring fasciotomy (n=2), tibial osteomyelitis (n=1), and fracture distal to cross-union (n=1). Conclusions: Contrary to much of the established practice, osteotomies may be safely performed in CPT for various indications. All osteotomies healed with only 1 osteotomy requiring secondary bone grafting. Although time to healing of the osteotomy was generally prolonged, this study suggests, somewhat surprisingly, that preconsolidation can occur frequently in lengthening procedures. Level of Evidence: Level IV - case series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E630-E635
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • congenital pseudarthrosis tibia
  • limb deformity
  • limb length discrepancy
  • osteotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Does An Osteotomy Performed in Congenital Pseudarthrosis of the Tibia Heal?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this