The Ilizarov System was originally developed in Kurgan, Siberia by the Soviet doctor, G.A. Ilizarov in 1951. The System was first brought to the West in 1981 and has been used in over one million cases worldwide.
The ILIZAROV method is a highly successful orthopaedic surgical technique designed to lengthen or straighten bone and soft tissue. Additionally, this innovative device and technique can sometimes save limbs that might otherwise be amputated.
Although some form of fixation has been used in orthopaedic medicine for hundreds of years, it was Russian-born Gavril Ilizarov who is considered the 'father' of circular external fixators. In fact, all circular external fixators today are based on Dr. Ilizarov's work from the 1950s.
Taking advantage of the remarkable fact that bone heals itself by growing, or regenerating, he determined that he could correct disfigured bones by separating two bone halves millimeter by millimeter. During this process, the body's natural ability to grow bone fills in the gap between the two bones, correcting deformities or increasing length.
Dr. Ilizarov was able to lengthen legs and arms and treat severely disabled patients with bone trauma or deformities.
Many orthopaedic surgeons around the world today still use the ILIZAROV device and Dr. Ilizarov's surgical methods.
More recently, the principles developed by Dr. Ilizarov have been improved significantly by Charlie Taylor, M.D. from Memphis Tennessee. Dr. Taylor expanded upon Dr. Ilizarov's principals and developed a computer aided external fixation device now know as the Taylor Spatial Frame.
The Taylor Spatial Frame is an external device for limb correction, lengthening and/or straightening that is based on the Ilizarov method. This external fixator takes advantage of the body's natural ability to grow healthy new bone and soft tissue and gives the surgeon the ability to accurately move bones to their correct anatomic alignment.
The Taylor Spatial Frame fits around your limb and is attached to the bone with pins or wires that extend from the rings, through the skin and bone to the other side.
The Taylor Spatial Frame is a circular, metal frame with two rings that connect with six telescopic struts that can be independently lengthened or shortened relative to the rest of the frame. This allows for six different axes of movement, which gives the Taylor Spatial Frame the ability to correct even the most difficult congenital deformities and trauma cases.
When using the Taylor Spatial Frame, your surgeon inputs information about your original bone deformity into an advanced web-based computer application. This information is then interpreted by the software and a day-by-day treatment plan is created. The software also creates an image of your deformity on screen and shows how the bones should be moving each day, until the bones are completely set in proper alignment.
You then make daily adjustments to the struts, depending on your prescribed course of treatment. As the adjustments are made, the rings are repositioned with respect to each other, moving bones in the directions necessary for treatment.
Your surgeon is able to make a side-by-side comparison of current X-Rays and the projected plan of treatment graphics created by the Taylor Spatial Frame software. This comparison ensures that your bones are healing in the correct alignment and at the appropriate pace.
For reconstructive orthopedic problems, the frame apparatus is often applied in combination with other surgical procedures such as osteotomies (cut through the bone) or soft tissue procedures. An osteotomy can be gradually pulled apart to form new bone and then lengthen or reconstruct a limb. This newly formed bone can fill defects, heal non unions, regenerate bone in limb lengthening, and permit correction of deformities without shortening.
The system is highly versatile and can be used in an infinite number of configurations, to mend both routine and severe bone fractures, alter the shape of deformed bones, lengthen limbs, and correct a variety of soft tissue deformities.