Orthopaedic, psychological, social and philosophical aspects of achondroplasia patients treated with the Ilizarov method

Diachkova G.V., Aranovich A.M., Diachkov K.A., Klimov O.V., Novikov K.I., Sutyagin I.V.


Achondroplasia is the most common skeletal dysplasia with limb shortening that can be symptomatically be treated with the Ilizarov method developed in the 20th century. Achondroplasia patients were shown to have medical and surgical possibilities for height increase with indications being controversial, and psychological and social implications to be considered.
The purpose of the study was to review our own data and reported findings on possibilities, results and complications of Ilizarov treatment of achondroplasia patients.
Material and methods
Outcomes of 750 achondroplasia patients treated at the Kurgan Ilizarov Center between 1976 and 2017 were reviewed. The patients’age ranged from 4 to 23 years.
Long-term outcomes were followed up in all the cases. Radiography was used to assess limb elongation at follow-ups and MRI, MSCT and US were optional. Ten-to-fifteen-year follow-ups showed persisted length gain, early osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joints due to baseline articular changes, completely restructured femur and tibia at the distraction site, normal anatomy and area of muscle cross-section, normal structure and thickness of tibial muscles. Social and psychological profile appeared to improve. We have data from the patients who underwent limb lengthening 30 years ago. Many of them are employed, have family and children.
The findings suggest that achondroplasia patients, a comparatively small group of short statured people, have good reasons to feel empowered, get social support, make parents happy and contribute to the success of the country. The Ilizarov method has turned the idea of height increase into an accomplishment for benefits of doctors and patients being an achievement of orthopaedic world to address orthopaedic, social, psychological and philosophical issues.


achondroplasia, Ilizarov method, limb lengthening, psychology, social and philosophical aspects

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18019/1028-4427-2018-24-4-465-473


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