What is limb reconstruction?

Limb reconstruction surgery is the field of trauma and orthopaedic surgery that deals with the management of congenital and acquired deformities of upper and lower limbs, reconstruction of post traumatic limb defects and limb equalisation techniques.

The Bristol Limb Reconstruction Unit, at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, was developed by Professor Roger Atkins and currently consists of five surgeons with specialist interest and expertise. We also have a limb reconstruction fellow, specialist nurses and physiotherapists in paediatric and adult reconstruction, a research nurse, and secretarial support staff.

The team at the BLRU are dedicated to the functional recovery and rehabilitation of patients and use a range of modern surgical techniques and devices, including plate fixation, intramedullary nailing, circular external fixators, bone transport, limb lengthening and angular correction. We also work closely with plastic surgeons to treat combined soft tissue and skeletal conditions.

    • About us

      BLRU has led innovation in Ilizarov frame surgery for a number of years. We have developed general deformity correction by devising the CHAOS concept and developed new treatments for individual syndromes, such as Blount’s disease. We have undertaken basic research into fracture anatomy, for example in tibial pilon fractures, and used this knowledge to invent new treatments.

      Bristol is the largest and academically most productive unit in Europe. We now have a regular visiting surgeon program and run an annual, international masterclass, on limb reconstruction surgery.

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      • A frame fitted for bone transport.
    • Frame surgery - a history

    • Gavril Abramovitch Ilizarov was a Russian surgeon in the last century. He worked in Kurgan in Siberia, starting his clinical career shortly after the second world war. He was faced with a large number of war casualties with un-united fractures, who he was unable to treat with the primitive equipment available to him. Ilizarov made two huge contributions. He devised his fine wire circular frame and he put forward the concept of distraction osteogenesis.

      Ilizarov stated that he invented his external fixator after seeing the spokes and hub of a wheel on a horse drawn cart. That may be so but... more