Successful combined use of the Ilizarov technique and Taylor spatial frame spared a healthy mother of two from the amputation of her left leg (above the knee) following a traumatic accident; the team was able to save her knee and work to heal it before any amputation needed to occur. According to J. Spence Reid, M.D., trauma surgeon, Penn State Hershey Bone and Joint Institute, “An initial attempt to reconstruct the knee failed when massive infection developed. Debridement of infected tissue and bone resulted in large bone defects.” Reid and the patient discussed amputation versus preserving the limb. “As an active young woman, the patient and her family felt very strongly about trying to preserve the leg.” Thankfully there were options.
After enduring six months of the Ilizarov and Taylor spatial frame techniques, and eight surgeries in 12 months, including fusion of the knee and placement of an intermedullary nail, the bone defects have fully healed and the patient is able to walk and perform most normal daily activities with no pain or ambulatory aids. Reid adds, “This was a highly personal decision to undergo an arduous, painful, and expensive series of treatments. While this approach is not for everyone, the patient and her family are very satisfied with the outcome.” Continue reading