Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 468, Issue 6, pp 1660–1668

Staged Lengthening Arthroplasty for Pediatric Osteosarcoma around the Knee

Clinical Research



Orthopaedic oncologists often must address leg-length discrepancy after resection of tumors in growing patients with osteosarcoma. There are various alternatives to address this problem. We describe a three-stage procedure: (1) temporary arthrodesis, (2) lengthening by Ilizarov apparatus, and (3) tumor prosthesis.


We asked (1) to what extent are affected limbs actually lengthened; (2) how many of the patients who undergo a lengthening procedure eventually achieve joint arthroplasty; and (3) can the three-stage procedure give patients a functioning joint with equalization of limb length?

Patients and Methods

We reviewed 56 patients (younger than 14 years) with osteosarcoma who had staged lengthening arthroplasty between 1991 and 2004.


Thirty-five of the 56 patients (63%) underwent soft tissue lengthening, and of these 35, 28 (50% of the original group of 56) had implantation of a mobile joint. Three of the 28 prostheses were later removed owing to infection after arthroplasty. The overall average length gained was 7.8 cm (range, 4–14 cm), and 25 (71%) of the 35 patients had a mobile joint at final followup. The average Musculoskeletal Tumor Society functional score was 23.2 (range, 15–28) and limb-length discrepancy at final followup was 2.6 cm (range, 0–6.5 cm). Although most mobile joints had an acceptable ROM (average, 74.2°; range, 35°–110°), extension lag was frequent.


Our approach is one option for skeletally immature patients, especially in situations where an expandable prosthesis is not available. However, this technique requires multiple stages and would be inappropriate for patients who cannot accept prolonged functional deficit owing to a limited lifespan or other reasons.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryKorea Cancer Center HospitalSeoulKorea

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