Rebound Deformity After Growth Modulation in Patients With Coronal Plane Angular Deformities About the Knee: Who Gets It and How Much?


Background: With observed success and increased popularity of growth modulation techniques, there has been a trend toward use in progressively younger patients. Younger age at growth modulation increases the likelihood of complete deformity correction and need for implant removal before skeletal maturity introducing the risk of rebound deformity. The purpose of this study was to quantify magnitude and identify risk factors for rebound deformity after growth modulation.

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients undergoing growth modulation with a tension band plate for coronal plane deformity about the knee with subsequent implant removal. Exclusion criteria included completion epiphysiodesis or osteotomy at implant removal, ongoing growth modulation, and <1 year radiographic follow-up without rebound deformity. Mechanical lateral distal femoral angle, mechanical medial proximal tibial angle, hip-knee-ankle angle (HKA), and mechanical axis station were measured before growth modulation, before implant removal, and at final follow-up.

Results: In total, 67 limbs in 45 patients met the inclusion criteria. Mean age at growth modulation was 9.8 years (range, 3.4 to 15.4 y) and mean age at implant removal was 11.4 years (range, 5.3 to 16.4 y). Mean change in HKA after implant removal was 6.9 degrees (range, 0 to 23 degrees). In total, 52% of patients had >5 degrees rebound and 30% had >10 degrees rebound in HKA after implant removal. Females below 10 years and males below 12 years at time of growth modulation had greater mean change in HKA after implant removal compared with older patients (8.4 vs. 4.7 degrees, P=0.012). Patients with initial deformity >20 degrees had an increased frequency of rebound >10 degrees compared with patients with less severe initial deformity (78% vs. 22%, P=0.002).

Conclusions: Rebound deformity after growth modulation is common. Growth modulation at a young age and large initial deformity increases risk of rebound. However, rebound does not occur in all at risk patients, therefore, we recommend against routine overcorrection.

Level of evidence: Level IV-retrospective study.