How it works?
Ilozarov used an external fixation device on patients to treat non union fractures in the 1950s.
The ilizarov external fixator can be used to correct angular deformities, to correct bone length differences and treat non union and compound fractures.
The device is a specialized form of external fixator, modular in construction. Stainless steel /titanium or carbon fibre rings are fixed to bone via stainless heavy gauge wire ( called pins or kirschner wires). The rings are connected to each other with threaded rods adjunct through adjustable nuts. The circular construction and tensioned wires of the ilizarov apparatus provide far more structural support than the traditional monolateral (monorail ) fixator system. This allows early weight bearing.
In this method the procedure consists of initial surgery in which bone to be lengthened is cut in the shaft( osteotomy) and an external fixator is placed. Timely distract the bone with the help of the frame screws.
Careful observation of the callus formation.
Once healing and lengthening is complete, a second surgery is necessary to remove the rings apparatus.
The procedure sounds minimally invasive but distraction osteogenesis (lengthening) is a time taking procedure, the amount of lengthening is 1mm in a day (.25 each time/4 times a day),gives time to lengthen soft tissue,ligament and nerves as well which is as important as callus formation. Procedure sounds simple but it is not complication free. Pain is common and can be treated with pain medication. Physical therapy often indicated.
During this procedure minimal deformities like valgus or varus leg can be corrected too.