Metacarpal lengthening by distraction osteogenesis in childhood brachydactyly.

Published online: Jun 27 2001


Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, University of Dicle, School of Medicine, Diyarbakir, Turkey.


Metacarpal lengthening was performed by callus distraction in six children with brachydactyly. Four of the patients were girls and two were boys, with ages ranging from 10 to 14 years (mean age: 12 years). Four of the patients had brachydactyly resulting from injury to the hand and damage to the epiphysis related to infection, while the other two had congenital brachymetacarpia. Two patients had short thumbs, two had short index fingers, and the remaining two had short ring fingers. General anesthesia with a pneumatic tourniquet was used during surgery for all patients. Distraction was initiated on the sixth day following osteotomy, and distractions of 0.25 mm were carried out at 12-hour intervals. Adequate length was achieved in an average of 37 days (32-44), and adequate union of the bone in an average of 12.2 (11.5-15) weeks. No bone grafting was done. In one patient with congenital brachymetacarpia, it was not possible to achieve the desired length because of bending in the Kirshner wires, but union of the bone occurred without difficulty, and the outcome was satisfactory. Although single-stage metacarpal lengthening by callus distraction is time-consuming, it is a simple procedure without complications, which can be used in children with brachydactyly.