Percutaneous Epiphysiodesis Using Transphyseal Screws: a Case Series Demonstrating High Efficacy

Emily R. Dodwell, Matthew R. Garner, Elise Bixby, Eva M. Luderowski, Daniel W. Green, John S. Blanco, Roger F. Widmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Percutaneous epiphysiodesis using transphyseal screws (PETS) has been associated with implant failure, implant prominence, angular deformities, and delayed growth inhibition. Questions/Purposes: The aim of this study was to assess the complication rate and efficacy (defined as actual growth inhibition divided by expected growth inhibition) of PETS and to identify factors associated with improved efficacy. Methods: Patients who underwent distal femoral and/or proximal tibial PETS between January 2007 and June 2014 were identified. Complications, efficacy, and final limb-length discrepancy (LLD) were calculated using multipliers and inhibition rates based on previous growth. Associations between efficacy and screw insertion angle (SIA), body mass index, and number of threads crossing the physis were calculated. Results: Eight-two patients (126 treated physes) were included. The mean pre-operative LLD was 27.7 mm (SD = 7.5). Following epiphysiodesis, 15 had temporary pain (18%), five had temporary effusion (6.1%), four had broken implants (4.9%), four developed mild angulation (4.9%), and three had failed epiphysiodesis requiring revision (3.7%). Thirty-one underwent screw removal (n = 31, 38%). Mean LLD at maturity was 17.3 mm (SD = 5.8 mm). Mean efficacy at the distal femur was 97% (SD = 46%), at the proximal tibia was 108% (SD = 66%) and was 103% (SD = 57%) overall. Increased screw threads across the lateral proximal tibial physis (Spearman’s correlation coefficient = 0.67; 95% CI = 0.40–0.94) and higher BMI (Spearman’s correlation coefficient = 0.55; 95% CI = 0.34–0.77) were positively associated with increased efficacy. Conclusions: The efficacy of PETS may be more favorable than previously reported. Only 3.7% had serious complications requiring revision epiphysiodesis, lower than previous reports. Attention to sufficient screw threads across the physis may be important in optimizing PETS results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalHSS Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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