Radial club hand

The reported incidence of radial club hand varies between 1 per 55,000 and 1 per 100,000 live births.  Most cases are sporadic without any definable cause. However, exposure to teratogens (cancer forming chemicals), such as thalidomide and radiation, can yield radial deficiencies. (source emedicine)

In this image an Ilizarov device is used to correct the congenital defect.  

 Image from the Journal of Hand Surgery

In addition to being used to support a fractured limb, the Ilizarov frame is also commonly used to correct deformity through distraction osteogenesis.

The procedure consists of an initial surgery, during which the bone is surgically broken and the ring apparatus is attached.  As the patient recovers, the fractured bone begins to grow together. While the bone is growing, the frame is adjusted by  increasing the space between two rings.  As the rings are connected to opposite sides of the fracture, this adjustment, done four times a day, moves the now-healing fracture apart by approximately one millimeter per day.  The incremental daily increases result in a considerable lengthening of the limb over time.  Once the lengthening phase is complete, the apparatus stays on the limb for a consolidation period.  The patient is able to fully weight bear on the Ilizarov frame, using crutches initially and pain is lessened. Once healing is complete, a second surgery is necessary to remove the ring apparatus. The result is a limb that is significantly longer. (adapted from wikipedia)

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