The Ilizarov (ill-is-are-off) method of limb correction is a highly successful orthopaedic surgical technique designed to lengthen or straighten bone and soft tissue. Additionally, this innovative device and technique can sometimes save limbs that might otherwise be amputated. The Ilizarov System was originally developed in Kurgan, Siberia by the Soviet doctor, Gavril Ilizarov in 1951. Although some form of external fixation has been used in orthopaedic medicine for hundreds of years, Dr. Ilizarov is considered the 'father' of circular external fixators. All circular external fixators today are based on Dr. Ilizarov's work from the 1950s. The System was brought to Western civilization in in the early 1980s and has now been used in over one million cases worldwide. Ilizarov determined that he could correct disfigured bones by separating bones millimeter by millimeter while the bone continued to regenerate in the gap. More recently, the principles developed by Dr. Ilizarov were expanded significantly by Charlie Taylor M.D. from Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Taylor developed a computer aided external fixation device now know as the Taylor Spatial Frame.
The Taylor Spatial Frame is an external device for limb correction, lengthening, or straightening that is based on the Ilizarov method. This external fixator takes advantage of the body's natural ability to grow healthy new bone. Newly formed bone can fill defects, heal non-unions, regenerate bone in limb lengthening, and permit correction of malalignment. The frame apparatus is often applied in combination with other surgical procedures such as osteotomies (bone cuts) or soft tissue procedures. An osteotomy can be gradually distracted or angulated to lengthen or reconstruct a limb. The frame is versatile and can be used in a number of configurations, to mend fractures, alter deformed bones, change the length of bones, and correct soft tissue contractures.
The Taylor Spatial Frame is a circular, metal frame with two rings that are connected with six telescopic struts that can be independently lengthened or shortened. This allows for six different axes of movement, which gives the frame the ability to correct even the most difficult deformities. The frame fits around your limb and is attached with pins or wires through your skin to the bone. When using the Taylor Spatial Frame software, your surgeon inputs information about your deformity into an advanced web-based application. This information is then interpreted by the software program and a treatment plan is created to achieve proper alignment. You then make daily adjustments to the struts, depending on your prescribed treatment plan. As the adjustments are made, the rings are repositioned while moving the bones. Your surgeon will periodically take x-rays to insure the bones are moving to the correct position.