Limb Lengthening Using the PRECICETM Nail System: Complications and Results


1 Department of Trauma, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Germany

2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Sohag University, Sohag, Egypt



Three types of telescopic nails are mainly used for intramedullary limb lengthening nowadays. Despite some important advantages of this new technology (e.g. controlled distraction rate, not restricted availability, possibility to perform accordion maneuvers), few articles exist on clinical results and complications after lengthening with the PRECICETM nail (Ellipse, USA).

The aim of the current study was to describe and analyze the complications associated with lengthening with the PRECICETM nail. Are the problems preventable when using the PRECICE, related to the distraction rate control, the lengthening goals and technique and handling?

We retrospectively reviewed the charts of 9 patients operated between 2012 and 2013 with a PRECICETM nail for a leg length discrepancy (LLD). The mean age of the patients was 32 years (range, 17 - 48 years). There were 5 femoral and 4 tibial procedures. The causes of LLD were posttraumatic (n = 5) and congenital (n = 4). The mean LLD was 36.4 ± 11.4 mm. The minimum follow-ups were 2 months (average, 5 months; range, 2 - 9 months).

The mean distraction rate was 0.5 ± 0.1 mm/day. We observed in 7 patients differences in achieving the lengthening goals (average, 1.6 mm; range, -20.0 - 5.0 mm). Average lengthening was 34.7 ± 10.7 mm. All patients reached normal alignment and normal joint orientation. An unintentional loss of the achieved length during the consolidation phase was noticed in patients with delayed bone healing in two cases. In the first case (loss of 20mm distraction) the nail could be redistracted and the goal length was achieved. In the second case (loss of 10mm distraction) the nail broke shortly after the diagnosis and the nail was exchanged.

We report of loss of achieved length after lengthening with a telescopic nail. Weight bearing before complete consolidation of the regenerate might be a risk factor for that. Thorough examination of the limb length and careful evaluation of the radiographs are required in the follow-up period. The PRECICE nail system requires the same vigilance like the other intramedullary systems too.