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Ilizarov Technique

Ilizarov technique or colloquially known as "Russian Technique" was described by a Russian surgeon G. A. Ilizarov. He described the use of ring fixator which is applied to the bone externally using wires. The fixator is used to pull apart the bone (distraction) at the rate of 1mm/day. The gradual distraction over a period of time induces formation of new bone and soft tissues(blood vessels, muscles, nerves and skin). By using these principles he described various clinical settings where excellent results can be achieved especially in the reconstruction of otherwise doomed limbs.


Various conditions where the Ilizarov technique is applied and gives excellent results are:

  1. Limb lengthening (making short legs longer)
  2. Deformity Correction (straightening bent legs)
  3. Infected Non-unions (bones that have not healed after a fracture, and have infection)
  4. Congenital Pseudarthrosis (a condition which occurs in children, where the leg bone may fracture spontaneously and does not unite)
  5. Treatment of Joint Contractures e.g. resistant congenital talipes euino varus, post burns contractures, post-traumatic stiffness
  6. Fixation of complex fractures
  7. Bone transport & Osteomyelitis (treatment of missing bone in the limb, due to various causes)
  8. Treatment of Arthritis (especially knee arthritis, in the early stages)
  9. Arthrodesis (fusion or joining of two bones across a joint)
  10. Peripheral Vascular Disease like Thrombo-angitis obliterans



The Ilizarov fixator or the ring fixator is an assembly of rings usually 2-3 rings applied to the bone using wires and screws. The rings are connected to each other by connecting rods. This is comparable to the scaffolding on the exterior of a building. The appratus is applied externally so that the bone ends can be moved and adjusted from outside as and when required. The flexibility of the Ilizarov technique is its biggest advantage and ensures a desired result.

With better understanding and application of the principles of Ilizarov technique and technology leap we now have the options of using fixators other than the ring fixator e.g. Dynamic Uniplanar Fixators – Orthofix, LRS (Limb Reconstruction System), Hexapod fixator (the versatile computer aided six-axis correction system).

We can also apply these principles in internal fixation achieving comparable results with added advantage of convenience.

The method of fixation, the type of fixator their advantages & disadvantages are discussed at length with the patient keeping in mind their clinical condition, personal needs and aspirations, and an individualised solution is achieved for every patient.