Early results of a non-invasive extendible prosthesis for limb-salvage surgery in children with bone tumours

N. Hwang, R. J. Grimer, S. R. Carter, R. M. Tillman, A. Abudu, L. M. Jeys


We reviewed our initial seven-year experience with a non-invasive extendible prosthesis in 34 children with primary bone tumours. The distal femur was replaced in 25 cases, total femur in five, proximal femur in one and proximal tibia in three. The mean follow-up was 44 months (15 to 86) and 27 patients (79%) remain alive. The prostheses were lengthened by an electromagnetic induction mechanism in an outpatient setting and a mean extension of 32 mm (4 to 80) was achieved without anaesthesia. There were lengthening complications in two children: failed lengthening in one and the formation of scar tissue in the other. Deep infection developed in six patients (18%) and local recurrence in three. A total of 11 patients required further surgery to the leg. Amputation was necessary in five patients (20%) and a two-stage revision in another. There were no cases of loosening, but two patients had implant breakage and required revision. The mean Musculoskeletal Tumor Society functional score was 85% (60% to 100%) at last known follow-up. These early results demonstrate that the non-invasive extendible prosthesis allows successful lengthening without surgical intervention, but the high incidence of infection is a cause for concern.


  • No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

  • Received May 7, 2011.
  • Accepted September 27, 2011.
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