Introduction: The management of tibial hemimelia can be complex and involve either amputation or reconstruction. The decision made carries significant implications on patients and their families. This is a case series in the management of Type IV tibial hemimelia with a description of a novel surgical technique in the reconstructive arm of the pathway.
Materials and methods: The study included four patients with bilateral tibial hemimelia have an amputation in one limb and reconstructive surgery on the other. The reconstruction involved a supratalar double osteotomy of the tibia and fibula, followed by a staged hindfoot osteotomy using a circular ring fixator. Functional outcomes are reported using the Special Interest Group in Amputee Medicine (SIGAM) and the short form 12 (SF-12) methods.
Results: The mean age of patients in our cohort is 14 years (3–27 years) with mean age of surgery at 3 years. One case had an amputation following initial reconstructive surgery due to psychological distress and regressive behaviour. SIGAM functional outcome scores of F were recorded in three of four cases, with one patient performing at level B. On the reconstructive side, two of three patients reported a mean physical short form 12 (SF-12) score of 56.7 and a mental SF-12 score of 55.7. One patient reported a physical SF-12 score of 28.5 and a mental SF-12 score of 30.3.
Discussion and conclusion: A reconstructive option provides a satisfactory functional outcome, comparable to the population mean, in the majority of patients in our cohort.
Clinical significance: A staged supratalar double osteotomy followed later by a hindfoot osteotomy is effective in centralising the ankle and creates a plantigrade weight-bearing platform for ambulation in patients with Type IV tibial hemimelia.
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