Salvage of infected non-union of the tibia with an ilizarov ring fixator

Muhammad Shahid Khan, Haroon Rashid, Masood Umer, Irfan Qadir, Kamran Hafeez, Arshad Iqbal

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. To review outcomes of 24 patients who underwent Ilizarov ring fixation for infected nonunion of the tibia. Methods. Medical records of 21 men and 3 women aged 13 to 74 (mean, 38) years who underwent Ilizarov ring fixation for infected non-union of the tibia were reviewed. The mean bone defect was 3.3 (range, 2–5) cm. The mean time from injury to presentation was 11.9 (range, 1–36) months. The mean number of previous surgeries was 2 (range, 0–14). A local flap was used in 2 patients and a free flap was used in one patient. Nine of the patients underwent Ilizarov ring fixation without soft tissue and bony resection, as inadequate stability was the reason for non-union. Patients were assessed using the Association for the Study and Application of the Method of Ilizarov criteria. Results. Patients were followed up for a mean of 11 (range, 8–46) months. Functional outcome was excellent in 8 patients, good in 12, fair in 2, and failure in one, whereas bone union outcome was excellent in 6 patients, good in 14, fair in one, and poor in 2. The mean time to union was 8 (range, 3–31) months. The mean external fixation index was 4.2 (range, 1.5– 15.7) cm/month. Complications encountered were pin tract infection (n=5), re-fracture (n=2), soft tissue impingement by Ilizarov rings (n=2), recurrence of wound infection (n=1), mal-union (n=1), and mortality (n=1). Conclusion. Ilizarov ring fixation is a viable option for infected non-union of the tibia. Adequate assessment of bone union is crucial before removal of fixator to prevent re-fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-55
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Ilizarov technique
  • Pseudarthrosis
  • Tibial fractures


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