Deformity of the tibia, including shortening and angulation, may accompany severe forms of postaxial hypoplasia (fibular deficiency). The current literature reflects varying opinions on the appropriate management for tibial deformity in the setting of fibular deficiency.
We performed a retrospective review to determine outcomes of tibial deformity correction in patients with a primary diagnosis of fibular deficiency. Clinical and radiographic outcomes of patients treated with foot ablation were reviewed to establish indications for tibial deformity correction, identify occurrence of additional surgical procedures related to limb alignment or deformity, and characterize difficulties with prosthetic wear potentially related to residual or recurrent tibial deformity.
From 1989 to 2016, 51 patients (57 extremities) with fibular deficiency were managed with a foot ablation procedure. Twenty-five (44%) had simultaneous correction of the tibial deformity. The initial tibial deformity measured 42.5 degrees, was corrected to 5.6 degrees intraoperatively, and measured 18.6 degrees at follow-up, suggesting recurrent deformity. In follow-up, approximately half of the patients complained of redness and one third complained of a continued prominence along the anterior tibia. Thirty-two extremities had an isolated foot ablation procedure without tibial osteotomy. Radiographic review demonstrated mild tibial bowing at the time of amputation with a mean angular deformity of 15.4 degrees and remained unchanged during the follow-up period (mean, 12.7 degrees). Similar to the osteotomy group, approximately half of the patients complained of redness and erythema over the anterior bow, with one fourth noting prominence, and only 2 reporting significant pain.
Tibial osteotomies in patients with more significant degrees of angular deformity can be safely performed at the same setting as foot ablative procedures for fibular deficiency. Recurrent deformity with growth may occur. Patients and their caregivers should be aware that rebound deformity may occur, but typically can be managed with prosthetic adjustment and without significant disruption to the child’s daily activities.
Level of Evidence:
Level IV (case series).