The use of extendible distal femoral replacements is a relatively new treatment alternative for malignant bone tumours in growing individuals. Although their appearance was widely appreciated, questions about functional practicality and longevity remain unclear. With longer follow-up, advantages of immediate functional restoration and beneficial psychological aspects seem to be overshadowed by an increase in complications such as aseptic loosening, infection or prosthetic failure.
We have reviewed 18 children with such tumours who were treated between 1983 and 1990 by custom-made Stanmore extendible distal femoral replacements. Four died from metastatic disease within 2.5 years of operation and two required amputation for local recurrence or chronic infection.
The remaining 12 patients were followed for a mean of 8.7 years (6 to 13.2). A mean total lengthening of 5.2 cm was achieved, requiring, on average, 4.3 operations. Using the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society rating score the functional result at review was, on average, 77% of the expected normal function, with seven patients achieving ≥ 80%. Revision of the prosthesis was required in ten patients, in six for aseptic loosening, at a mean of 6.2 years after the initial procedure.
- Received August 15, 1996.
- Accepted July 3, 1997.
- © 1997 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery