Progressive bone distraction lengthening in the treatment of congenital malformations of the hand

G. Pajardi, U. Martorana, C. Novelli, V. De Cristofaro, G. Foucher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Progressive bone distraction lengthening is a technique, first described by Matev in 1970, which allows bone lengthening of all the districts of the upper limb. This technique provides good results in bone lengthening that varies according to the site of elongation. Any hand malformation where moderate bone lengthening could provide functional and cosmetic improvement is a potential indication for this procedure. Otherwise this is not the only technique to reach this aim. Toe transfer, free vascularized joint transfer, or "one time bone lengthening" are some other procedures available; some can also take advantage of progressive bone distraction lengthening as a second-time surgery. This procedure can be used in several upper limb malformations, as radial deficiency or thumb hypoplasia, phocomelia, symbrachydactyly, metacarpal synostosys and others. Moreover, and it can be performed at any level. The principle of the technique is the same for any district, even if different rules must be followed according to the site. Different devices have been studied attempting to discover the one that is the least dangerous for the baby and the most simple to work for the relatives. Complications in this surgery are not uncommon and it is extremely important to inform the relatives about them. Epiphysis injuries and pin traction infection are the most frequent. This technique could be considered competitive with the others because it is simple and provides a good result without perturbating sensibility. On the other hand, considering the long time required, the essential family cooperation and the complications that can occur, accurate patient selection is mandatory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalRivista Italiana di Chirurgia Plastica
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Bone lengthening
  • Family cooperation
  • Malformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Progressive bone distraction lengthening in the treatment of congenital malformations of the hand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this