Aim and objective: Sagittal guided growth of the distal anterior femur has been shown to be effective for the correction of fixed knee flexion deformity that is encountered in clinical practice. The opposite deformity, namely genu recurvatum, is comparatively uncommon in children. The most common aetiology is post-traumatic. Acute correction by means of osteotomy has significant associated risks. Our objective was to determine whether a posterior 8-plate would suffice in correcting tibial recurvatum and obviate the need for an osteotomy.
Materials and methods: We included a total of five deformities, three boys (one bilateral) and one girl, managed by means of tethering of the posterior proximal tibial physis with a tension band plate. Standard radiographs obtained preoperatively and at follow-up included a standing anteroposterior (AP) of the legs noting limb lengths and the mechanical axis. We also obtained standing lateral views of each knee in maximal extension to measure and compare the posterior proximal tibial angle (PPTA).
Results: The same-day surgery was well tolerated and there were no surgical or post-operative complications. The preoperative PPTA ranged from 106° to 117° and averaged 84° at follow-up. Correction occurred in an average of 20 months (range of 18–24 months). The patient with bilateral recurvatum due to Hurler's syndrome developed unilateral recurrent recurvatum culminating in percutaneous reinsertion of the metaphyseal screw. For each patient, knee hyperextension and associated pseudo-laxity resolved and limb lengths remained equal at follow-up.
Conclusion: Children with progressive genu recurvatum typically present with an insidious onset of symptoms. Guided growth of the posterior proximal tibia is a safe and effective means of correcting the deformity; osteotomy was avoided in this series.
Level of evidence: III – retrospective case series – no controls.
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