The Ilizarov Apparatus is a set of external fixators comprising rings, rods and Kirschner's wires. It is different from the conventional external fixators in that it encases the limb as a cylinder-the limb itself being shaped like one and it uses wires instead of pins to fix the bone to the rings.
The Ilizarov Method uses Ilizarov's Principle of DISTRACTION OSTEOGENESIS (osteo=bone, genesis=formation). This refers to the induction of new bone between bone surfaces that are pulled apart in a gradual, controlled manner. The distraction initially gives rise to NEOVASCULARISATION (Neo=new, vascular=relating to blood), which is what actually stimulates new bone formation. In addition, there is simultaneous histogenesis (histo=tissue) of muscles, nerves and skin; in bone diseases (osteomyelitis, fibrous dysplasia, pseudo-arthrosis) this new bone replaces pathological bone with normal bone. This is a revolutionary concept; diseases for which earlier there was no treatment are now successfully treated using the Ilizarov Method.
Called TRANSOSSEOUS OSTEOSYNTHESIS (trans=across). Wires of 1.5 mm diameter are passed percutaneously (through the skin) through bones by means of a drill. The protruding ends of these wires are then fixed to rings with special "wire-fixation" bolts. These rings in turn are connected and fixed to one another by threaded rods. Once it is fixed, the Ilizarov frame affords a stable support to the affected limb. A CORTICOTOMY is then performed; it is an osteotomy (cutting the bone) where the periosteum of the bone is preserved. Adjustments in the rods produce compression or distraction as desired between the bone ends, and simultaneously, deformities are also corrected. The ring fixator is removed at the end of the treatment.
PROF. GABRIEL ABRAMOVITCH ILIZAROV started working with conventional external fixators towards the end of World War II. He devised his own, improved cylindrical fixator in 1951, and in 1954 published his first article on Transosseous Osteosynthesis. It was met with a lot of scepticism initially, but gradually people began to recognise the truth in his teachings. By the late 60s, Ilizarov had won acclaim and recognition in the USSR, and in 1971 the Soviet government built him a hospital-cum-research centre (called the Ilizarov Institute) in Kurgan, Siberia, where he continued to work till his demise. The Ilizarov Operation was introduced for the first time to the western world in 1984 in Italy when Ilizarov delivered 3 lectures, on non-unions, osteomyelitis and limb lengthening.Dr. S. P. Chakrabarty
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