The Ilizarov method for the treatment of complex tibial fractures and non-unions in a mass casualty setting: the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan

Konstantinos Tilkeridis, Basavraj Chari, Nusrat Cheema, Marios Tryfonidis, Arshad Khaleel

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2 Citations (Scopus)


We report our experience in treating victims of the recent earthquake disaster in Pakistan. Our experience was based on two humanitarian missions to Islamabad: one in October 2005, 10 days after the earthquake, and the second in January 2006. The mission consisted of a team of orthopaedic surgeons and a second team of plastic surgeons. The orthopaedic team bought all the equipment for application of Ilizarov external fixators. We treated patients who had already received basic treatment in the region of the disaster and subsequently had been evacuated to Islamabad. During the first visit, we treated 12 injured limbs in 11 patients. Four of these patients were children. All cases consisted of complex multifragmentary fractures associated with severe crush injuries. All fractures involved the tibia, which were treated with Ilizarov external fixators. Nine fractures were type 3b open injuries. Eight were infected requiring debridement of infected bone and acute shortening. During a second visit, we reviewed all patients treated during our first mission. In addition, we treated 13 new patients with complex non-unions. Eight of these patients were deemed to be infected. All patients had previous treatment with monolateral fixators as well as soft tissue coverage procedures, except one patient who had had an IEF applied by another team. All these patients had revision surgery with circular frames. All patients from both groups were allowed to fully weight-bear post-operatively, after a short period of elevation to allow the flaps to take. Overall, all fractures united except one case who eventually had an amputation. Four patients had a corticotomy and lengthening, and three of them had a successful restoration of limb length. The fourth patient was the one with the eventual amputation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-20
Number of pages8
JournalStrategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Complex tibial fracture
  • Earthquake
  • Humanitarian mission
  • Ilizarov external fixator
  • Mass casualty setting
  • Non-union

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