Use of Ilizarov external fixator to treat joint pterygia

John A. Gillen, Janet L. Walker, Ronald C. Burgess, David B. Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Joint pterygia are rare conditions characterized by joint-flexion contractures and webbing of the overlying skin and subcutaneous structures. Treatment is difficult because the neurovascular bundle is often displaced into the web, and only moderate success has been reported with past treatment options. A retrospective review was performed on five patients with six involved joints: two antecubital pterygia and four popliteal pterygia. The Ilizarov technique was used for gradual correction of pterygia through the joint (arthrodiastasis). Primary treatment goals included improvement in functional extension, hygiene independence, and cosmesis. Ambulation was also an objective in the patients with popliteal pterygia. For inclusion in this study, a minimum of 2 years' follow-up was required after the device was removed. Preoperative goals were met in four of the six joints. Initial improvement in total arc of motion was noted; however, some regression was common. Complications were frequent, and there was a learning curve for proficiency with the Ilizarov technique. We believe that the Ilizarov technique provides a treatment option for antecubital and popliteal pterygia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-437
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Antecubital pterygium
  • Joint-flexion contracture
  • Popliteal pterygium
  • Skin web

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of Ilizarov external fixator to treat joint pterygia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this