Evaluation of an Endoscopic Procedure for the Treatment of Docking Site Nonunion

Francesco Sala, Enzo Marinoni, Anna N. Miller, Giovanni Pesenti, Fabio Castelli, Salvatore Alati, Andrea Coppadoro, Dario Capitani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE:: To determine the effectiveness of an endoscopic docking site surgery during the use of a classic bone transport technique for dealing with bone loss. DESIGN:: Retrospective comparative study. SETTING:: Level I trauma center. PATIENTS:: Nine patients treated with endoscopic docking site surgery (group 1) were compared with 18 patients treated with standard open grafting of the docking site (group 2). All 27 bone transports with distraction osteogenesis were performed for the treatment of segmental tibial bone defects. INTERVENTION:: In group 1, 6 tibial and 3 tibiotalar docking sites were endoscopically treated. Anteromedial (instrumentation) and anterolateral (visualization) portals were used without a tourniquet, using a 30-degree arthroscope and a motorized 5-mm shaver/abrader. Fibrous tissue was removed, bone ends abraded, and the bone canal cleaned with bone grafting. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:: Clinical and radiographic. RESULTS:: Bone transport lengthening was 9.7 and 9.1 cm in groups 1 and 2, respectively. Consolidation at the docking site occurred in 8 patients (89%) in group 1. The docking site consolidation time and index lengthening were lower in group 1 (18 vs. 20 weeks for group 2 and 1.59 vs. 1.82 mo/cm in group 1 vs. group 2). Time in the external fixator was similar between the 2 groups (461 vs. 466 days in group 1 vs. group 2). Normal alignment was observed in both groups. CONCLUSIONS:: This study provides evidence that minimally invasive endoscopic docking site treatment during bone transport is a safe and viable technique using a common arthroscopic instrumentation. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-575
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Taylor spatial frame
  • docking site nonunion
  • endoscopy
  • tibial bone transport


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