J Korean Orthop Assoc.  1997 Dec;32(7):1668-1674.

Ilizarov Method for Knee Arthrodesis in Septic Knee Joint


Although joint infection with severe destruction remains a serious problem and severe bone loss is relative contraindication of arthrodesis, knee arthrodesis is most commonly a salvage procedure. Its goals are to relieve pain and restore the patient to functional level of activity. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the results and complications of Ilizarov method for knee arthrodesis in the presence of infection. We retrospectively reviewed the records of twelve patients who had managed with knee arthrodesis with Ilizarov method. Indications for the operation included a infected skeletal defect secondary severe open trauma in four patients, an infection at the site of an arthroplasty in three (with failure of previous arthrodesis with monofixator in one), an infected charcot joint in four and one pyogenic arthritis spreading from osteomyelitis of proximal tibia. The average age of the patients at the time of operation was fifty-three years (range twenty-two to eighty years). Follow-up averaged 17 months. The minimum follow up periods was 9 months. Average duration of Ilizarov fixator application was 7.2 months. In 3 cases we performed corticotomy and internal bone transport to treat large bone defect (17cm, 8cm, 6.5cm). Autoiliac bone graft was done in fusion site in two cases, and in three cases we performed bone graft at the docking site. Solid osseous union occured in each patient. There was no reinfection and nonunion. Average shortening was 3.4 cm. Complications were related to pin tract. When last seen, all patients were free of pain and could walk without cruthes or cane. Despite its pin tract problems, bulky cumbersome and expensive apparatus, the Ilizarov method is one of effective method for knee arthrodesis in the presence of infection and large bone loss especially.


Knee; Infection; Arthrodesis; Ilizarov
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