What is the ILIZAROV method?

Your orthopaedic surgeon has chosen to use the ILIZAROV (Ill-is-are-off) method of limb correction. 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.