Percutaneous epiphysiodesis using transphyseal screws (PETS) versus tension-band plating (TBP): comparative study of outcomes for correcting limb length discrepancy

Manaf H. Younis, Regina Hanstein, Kainaat Javed, Eric D. Fornari, Jaime A. Gomez, Melinda S. Sharkey, Jacob F. Schulz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The best effective treatment strategy for limb length discrepancy (LLD) is still being debated. The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy and results of tension-band plating (TBP) and percutaneous epiphysiodesis using transphyseal screws (PETS) for LLD correction. Methods: From June 2008 to January 2019, children who had lower extremity epiphysiodesis with either TBP or PETS were reviewed retrospectively. At the conclusion of treatment, LLD, angular deformity, and complications were reviewed. The t-test or Wilcoxon rank sum test was used to compare continuous variables. Categorical variables were evaluated using Fisher’s exact test or χ2 test. Results: A total of 32 epiphysiodeses with TBP (14 patients, 24 femur/tibias) or PETS (13 patients, 23 femur/tibias) were compared. TBPs were conducted while the patients were younger (11.0 vs. 13.1 years, p = 0.005). The treatment durations were similar in both groups (TBP: 23.5 months vs. PETS: 24 months, p = 0.132). PETS had significantly shorter operative time (p = 0.047), length of hospital stay (p = 0.014), and time to return to full activity (p = 0.043). LLD in the TBP group reduced from 2.64 to 1.38 cm (p = 0.005), while in the PETS group it decreased from 2.76 to 1.08 cm (p = 0.001). During treatment, the rate of LLD correction was 0.49 ± 0.9 cm/year for limbs treated with TBP and 1.0 ± 1.1 cm/year for limbs treated with PETS (p = 0.185). At the end of treatment, 8 TBP cases (47%) and 9 PETS cases (60%) had achieved LLD ≤ 2 cm (p = 0.502), and at the most recent follow-up, this had grown to 11 (65%) in the TBP group and 12 (80%) in the PETS group. There were no significant differences in the total number of complications between groups (p > 0.05). Revision surgery was required in 11 TBP and 3 PETS limbs due to persistent LLD or angular deformity (AD) (p = 0.016). Logistic regression did not reveal any significant association between TBP and the rate of complication or revision surgery. Conclusion: PETS and TBP are both effective methods for limb length equalization. PETS, on the other hand, was linked to a shorter operative time, a shorter hospital stay, a faster recovery to pre-operative function, and a lower complication rate. The rate of revision surgery due to persistent LLD or AD was higher in TBP. We advise surgeons against utilizing TBP to correct LLD. Level of evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1523-1531
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Epiphysiodesis
  • Limb length discrepancy
  • Percutaneous trans-epiphyseal screws
  • Tension-band plating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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