Neuromuscular recovery after distraction osteogenesis at different frequencies in a rabbit model

Cassandra A Lee, Jianjun Ma, D. Nicole Deal, Beth P. Smith, L. Andrew Koman, Thomas L. Smith, Jeffrey S. Shilt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The muscle and nerve responses to stresses applied during distraction osteogenesis have not been clearly defined. This study hypothesized that distraction resulting in 30% lengthening decreases muscle force generation of the lengthened muscle and increasing the frequency of distraction attenuates the decrease of force generation accompanying lengthening. This study investigated the effects of different distraction frequencies on neuromuscular recovery in a rabbit model. Animals were assigned into group 1 (low-frequency distraction) and group 2 (high-frequency distraction). Distraction was continued until a 30% increase in the original tibial length was achieved. After consolidation of the osteotomy, knee and ankle range of motion, muscle force generation, and neuromuscular junction parameters were evaluated. Lengthening of 30% resulted in significantly decreased range of motion compared with the control leg (P < 0.05). Lengthening of 30% also substantially decreased force generation of the peroneus longus muscle. However, force generation of the peroneus longus muscle in the high-frequency group was 70.5% ± 6.5% of the control side, significantly higher than that in the low-frequency distraction group (49.7% ± 4.8% of the control side, P < 0.05). There was no statistical difference between the 2 groups in neuromuscular junction morphology, although an abnormal shape of the postsynaptic neuromuscular junction was observed after distraction. The use of a high-frequency distraction technique during limb lengthening may result in a reduction in impairment of knee and ankle range of motion and improved muscle function compared with that observed with the use of low-frequency distraction. Repeated microtrauma to the soft tissues associated with high-frequency distraction may facilitate the regenerative capacity of the soft tissues and result in an improved outcome of muscle and nerve function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-633
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Distraction osteogenesis
  • Limb lengthening
  • Muscle force
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Rabbits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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