The Ilizarov method in Greece

Gavriil Abramovich Ilizarov

The method developed and implemented by the world-renowned Russian orthopaedist Ilizarov G. A. for the lengthening and correction of bone and joints deformities, has successfully returned thousands and thousands of patients to normal life.

For the first time in world medicine Ilizarov discovered and put into practice a method of growing tissues.

As a result, people found a unique opportunity to correct and straighten posttraumatic limb deformities, to recover from the most severe inherited or acquired diseases of the skeleton, to increase their height and to correct the curvature of the legs.

I had the honour to attend a complete training course in the Ilizarov Centre in Russia and the last three years I have been successfully using this method in my medical practice in Thessaloniki.

In the context of my work, I have the unique opportunity to communicate with the leading surgeons of this famous centre and obtain their consultations.

Correction of post-traumatic deformities of bones and joints

It is rather frequent that after trauma some patients suffer from improperly healed fractures, pseudarthrosis (not healed fractures), osteomyelitis (bone infection), shortening or twisting of limbs, which leads to severe disability. The Ilizarov method is the ideal way to restore limb functionality disorders, unlike the classic orthopaedic surgery, which is usually powerless in such cases.

Skeletal pathology in childhood

The diseases of the musculoskeletal system are the most common conditions among the paediatric diseases. Since early stage diagnosis is difficult, the regular orthopaedic examination of the child at least once a year is considered necessary. Lactating babies require such examinations several times a year starting from the first month of life.

Congenital protein-synthesis and metabolic disorders often lead to abnormal skeletal development of children. As a result, children may be born with limb deformities, or may acquire them during the growth process.

The correction of lower limb deformity increasing the limb length based on the Ilizarov method allowing restoration of the supportive ability and mobility of the limbs and the required proportionality and body composition of the child.

The use of the Ilizarov method gave positive results in the treatment of diseases such as cerebral palsy and achondroplasia (dwarfism). The human height can be increased by 30-40 cm, congenital neglected clubfoot or even congenital or acquired abnormalities of the foot, etc. can be corrected.

The method that I use is unique and irreplaceable for the treatment of patients with curvature, shortening or partial amputation of limbs which occurred as a result of malignant or benign cancer.

Plastic orthopaedic surgery

I would like to highlight the plastic surgery applied in my practice, that (based on the above mentioned method) allows short people or people suffering from lower limb deformity to fix these defects and to get rid of their complexes which are probably accompanying them throughout their lives.

Advantages of the Ilizarov method in fractures

In most cases, the reduction of the bone fragments is performed without skin incision. This has as a result:

  • Absence of infectious inflammation, which can lead to osteomyelitis.
  • No placing of metal plates and screws, the removal of which would require another operation.
  • When any additional repositioning of bone fragments on the second and third day is required, it can be done without surgery.

Patients begin to walk, weight bearing through the injured foot, two days after surgery.

Advantages of the Ilizarov apparatus in osteotomies and leg lengthening

  • Ability to weight bear through the limb immediately after surgery, thereby accelerating the process of generation and maturation of new bone tissue.
  • The Ilizarov osteotomies do not violate the circulation in the area of the incision.
  • Active postoperative exercise of the adjacent joints in order to avoid rigidity.
  • Possibility of simultaneous lengthening and correction of the angular and rotational deformity.