Growth disturbance of the ilium after splitting the iliac apophysis and iliac crest bone harvesting in children: a retrospective study at the end of growth following unilateral Salter innominate osteotomy in 21 children.

Published online: Sep 27 1999

R Rossillon, D Desmette, and J J Rombouts.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


The morphology of the iliac bone was assessed at the end of growth on AP x-rays of the pelvis in 21 children who had previously undergone unilateral pelvic osteotomy. The nonoperated side was used as a reference. There were 13 girls and 8 boys. Age at operation varied from 12 months to 12 years with a mean of 3 years and 10 months. The patients were distributed in 2 groups depending on their age at operation: before age 5 (group A, 16 cases) or after age 5 (group B, 5 cases). The mean age at follow-up was 15 years and 2 months (range 11-19 years). The end of pelvic growth was established by Risser stage IV. Distinct hypoplasia of the ilium due to premature growth arrest was observed in 16 cases: 12 in group A and 4 in group B. Other changes in the morphology of the ilium were noted, e.a. increased height of the ilium which was noted in 12 cases. The cosmetic prejudice was however minor, as compared with the radiological changes. In the authors' opinion, the alar hypoplasia was related to growth disturbances due to repeated splitting of the iliac apophysis. To prevent this complication the authors recommend avoiding the use of an electrocautery to incise the iliac apophysis and cutting the Kirschner wires so that their proximal ends lie within the subcutaneous fat, in order to avoid repeated splitting of the apophysis at the time of hardware removal.