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Limb Reconstruction After Premature Growth Arrest Secondary to Bone Infections.



During recent years, the detection of osteoarticular infections has increased, thanks to improvement and wide availability of diagnostic tools. Despite that, surgeons and patients still have to deal with long-term sequelae, including osteoarthritis, chronic osteomyelitis, and premature physeal arrest. Subsequent joint reconstruction is the most difficult challenge when the hip or knee has been affected. Most surgical procedures described to manage these devastating consequences are only palliative, with the goal focused on improving stability and pain control, but seldom ending with a highly functional joint. Premature physeal arrest has an unpredictable course after an osteoarticular infection. The prognosis depends on the age of the child, the type of injury (partial or total bony bar), the proportion of the physeal surface affected, and the bone compromised. Peripheral injuries lead to angular limb deformities, whereas central bars lead to limb-length discrepancies. Surgical treatment should be oriented to preserve physeal function and allow normal growth to resume. In those cases where preserving physeal function is not possible, the orthopaedic surgeon must deal with the sequelae of limb-length discrepancies and/or bone deformities.