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OBJECTIVE: To report muscle strength, power, and function after limb-lengthening surgery performed by using the Ilizarov technique. DESIGN: Prospective, longitudinal observational study of a cohort of consecutive patients who underwent limb-lengthening distraction followed up for 2 years after surgery. SETTING: National Health Service hospital specializing in orthopedic surgery. PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N=16) who had undergone limb-lengthening surgery performed by using the Ilizarov method (11 men, 5 women; mean age=27 y; range, 13-56 y). INTERVENTIONS: None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Muscle strength and power were assessed by using 2 validated measures: isokinetic concentric strength of the quadriceps and hamstrings measured by using a dynamometer and leg extensor power. Measures were recorded preoperatively and at 6, 12, and 24 months after the completion of lengthening. Function was measured by 2 timed tests of functional performance: stair climbing and sit-to-stand. RESULTS: Overall results were good with high reports of function and satisfactory clinical examination. Both concentric muscle strength and leg power showed a clear pattern of decreased muscle strength at 6 months after frame removal, improving throughout the study period until it was within 3% of the preoperative value at 2 years. By 2 years, self-reported function and ability to complete timed functional tests had returned to or improved on the preoperative values. Muscle strength remained slightly below the preoperative value; this was more pronounced in the quadriceps than the hamstrings. There was no association between muscle strength and the amount of lengthening that had been undertaken. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that there is a small residual decrease in muscle strength and power after limb-lengthening surgery but that these do not adversely impact on a patients' ability to perform everyday functional activities.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch phys med rehabil

Publication Date





384 - 388


Activities of Daily Living, Adult, Female, Humans, Ilizarov Technique, Leg Length Inequality, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Middle Aged, Movement, Muscle Strength, Muscle Strength Dynamometer, Physical Therapy Modalities, Prospective Studies, Recovery of Function, Young Adult