Background: The results of hemiepiphysiodesis for the treatment of late-onset tibia vara have been reported to be favorable, but the technique requires careful timing and an accurate estimation of skeletal age. Hemiepiphyseal stapling does not require a careful estimation of skeletal age, and it has been reported to yield good results with low morbidity. However, we are not aware of any study evaluating the intermediate-term radiographic results or complications of this procedure.
Methods: Twenty-six patients with thirty-three extremities with late-onset tibia vara were treated with proximal tibial hemiepiphyseal stapling. Fourteen extremities had substantial concomitant distal femoral varus and also had hemiepiphyseal stapling of the distal part of the femur. Eighteen patients (twenty-three involved extremities) had juvenileonset tibia vara and eight patients (ten involved extremities) had adolescent-onset tibia vara. The mean age at the time of stapling was 11.8 years. The mean duration of follow-up was 3.8 years. We reviewed standardized standing radiographs to determine the mechanical axis deviation, the medial proximal tibial angle, the lateral distal femoral angle, and the zone of the knee through which the mechanical axis passed.
Results: The mean mechanical axis deviation improved from 58 mm (range, 27 to 157 mm) preoperatively to 22 mm (range, -33 to 117 mm) at the time of the last follow-up, and the mean medial proximal tibial angle improved from 77° (range, 50° to 85°) to 85° (range, 48° to 95°). In the fourteen lower extremities in which distal femoral hemiepiphyseal stapling was performed, the mean lateral distal femoral angle improved from 96° (range, 92° to 100°) to 86° (range, 79° to 97°). At the time of the final follow-up, seven extremities were considered to be in moderate varus; four, in mild varus; twenty, in normal alignment; and two, in valgus. No differences in radiographic outcome were noted between the juvenile and adolescent forms of tibia vara. Only one of the four extremities with severe preoperative varus was corrected to normal alignment; the remaining three were left with moderate varus.
Conclusions: Hemiepiphyseal stapling of the lateral aspect of the proximal tibial physis and, as needed, the lateral aspect of the distal femoral physis is safe and effective in children with late-onset tibia vara if the physes are sufficiently open and the varus deformity is mild to moderate. Hemiepiphyseal stapling is particularly effective in patients who are ten years of age or younger.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Asan Medical Center, 388-1 Pungnap-2dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul 138-736, South Korea
2 St. Louis Shriners Hospital for Children, 2001 South Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63131. E-mail address for J.E. Gordon: firstname.lastname@example.org