Noninvasive quantitative assessment of bone healing after distraction osteogenesis.
One of the greatest challenges of limb lengthening and deformity correction is deciding when the bone has healed enough to remove the external fixator. Standard radiography is the most common imaging method used to assess bone healing after distraction osteogenesis because it is widely available, cheap, and relatively safe. However, other imaging technologies and methods are being investigated that will help quantify bone healing after distraction osteogenesis, providing an objective method for deciding when it is appropriate to remove an external fixator. This review will examine the latest techniques used to assess bone healing after distraction osteogenesis including dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans, ultrasound, quantitative computed tomography, and digital radiography (X-ray). Recommendations for clinical practice will be outlined.