We studied the course of bone mineralization of regenerate bone after callotasis lengthening. Twenty-three patients (eight boys) (mean age at operation 11.5 years, range 4-17 years; leg length discrepancy [LLD] at surgery ranging from 4 to 13 cm) underwent dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanning weekly during the distraction phase, at 2 week intervals until removal of the fixator, and at the time of their out-patient visits thereafter, for a mean of 794 +/- 420 days after removal of the apparatus. At removal of the fixator, the bone mineral content (BMC) of the regenerate was nearly 70% of the normal contralateral limb. With time, this value gradually increased, and tended to reach normal values, with no significant difference between femur and tibia. With time, the BMC of the regenerate tends to return to the value of the normal contralateral limb. Probably, once the limb length discrepancy has been equalized, the mechanical stimuli imparted through weight-bearing to the lengthened limb are of the same magnitude bilaterally. In this instance, then, the newly formed bone, responding to these physical stimuli, would normalize its mineral content, confirming that bone remodeling continues well after lengthening is terminated. Mineralization of the regenerate after completion of the lengthening process reaches values significantly greater than at removal of the fixator, with an increase of >50% of the prelengthening values, regardless of the underlying pathology. The final value of this increased BMC is not significantly different than in the normal contralateral unoperated limb. At least part of the increase in bone mineralization following callotasis lengthening is due to the normal process of growth and development.
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