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The management of congenital talipes equino varus (clubfoot deformity) has been transformed in the last 20 years as surgical correction has been replaced by the non-surgical Ponseti method. The Ponseti method, consists of corrective serial casting followed by maintenance bracing, and has been repeatedly demonstrated to give best results - regarded as the ‘gold standard’ treatment for paediatric clubfoot.
To develop the study protocol Level 2 evidence was used to modify the corrective casting phase of the Ponseti method in children aged up to 12 months. Using Level 4 evidence, the percutaneous Achilles tenotomy (PAT) was performed using a 19-gauge needle instead of a scalpel blade, a technique found to reduce bleeding and scarring.
A total of 123 children participated in this study; 88 male, 35 female. Both feet were affected in 67 cases, left only in 22 cases, right only in 34 cases. Typical clubfeet were found in 112/123 cases, six atypical, five syndromic. The average age at first cast was 51 days (13–240 days).
The average number of casts applied was five (2–10 casts). The average number of days between the first cast and brace was 37.8 days (10–122 days), including 21 days in a post-PAT cast. Hence, average time of corrective casts was 17 days.
Parents preferred the reduced casting time, and were less concerned about unseen skin wounds.
PAT was performed in 103/123 cases, using the needle technique. All post tenotomy casts were in situ for three weeks. Minor complications occurred in seven cases - four cases had skin lesions, three cases disrupted casting phase. At another site, 452 PAT were performed using the needle technique.
The ‘fast cast’ protocol Ponseti casting was successfully used in infants aged less than 8 months. Extended manual manipulation of two minutes was the essential modification. Parents preferred the faster treatment phase, and ability to closer observe the foot and skin. The treating physiotherapists preferred the ‘fast cast’ protocol, achieving better correction with less complication. The needle technique for PAT is a further improvement for the Ponseti method.
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- ‘Fast cast’ and ‘needle Tenotomy’ protocols with the Ponseti method to improve clubfoot management in Bangladesh
Abu Hena Mahboob
- BioMed Central