Peroneal Nerve Function Before and Following Surgical Excision of a Proximal Fibular Osteochondroma


Background: Osteochondromas occur most commonly in the distal femur, proximal tibia, and humerus. There are no large studies reviewing the outcome of treatment for patients with an osteochondroma involving the proximal fibula. The purpose of this study is to specifically understand the manifestations of a proximal fibular osteochondroma (PFO) on the preoperative peroneal nerve function, and how surgical management of the osteochondroma affects function immediately postoperatively and at long-term follow-up.

Methods: This is an institutional review board-approved retrospective review of a consecutive series of patients with a PFO treated operatively at a single institution. The medical record was carefully reviewed to identify demographic data, clinical data especially the status of the peroneal function at various time points.

Results: There were 25 patients with 31 affected extremities who underwent surgical excision of the PFO at an average age of 12.4 years (range, 3.0 to 17.9 y). There were 16 males and 9 females. The underlying diagnosis was isolated PFO in 2 (8%) patients and multiple hereditary exostosis in 23 (92%) patients. Preoperatively, 9 (29%) had a foot drop and 22 (71%) did not. Those with a preoperative foot drop underwent surgery at a younger age (9.1 vs. 13.8 y) (P<0.004) and postoperatively 5 (55.5%) had complete resolution, 3 (33.3%) had improvement, and 1 (11.1%) persisted requiring an ankle foot orthosis. Of the 22 who were normal preoperatively, 5 (22.7%) developed an immediate postoperative foot drop, 3 (60%) completely resolved, 1 (20%) improved, and 1 (20%) persisted and was found to have a transected nerve at exploration. In total, 23 of the 25 (92%) patients who had a PFO excision, had a normal or near-normal peroneal nerve function including those who had poor function preoperatively.

Conclusions: Patients with a PFO have a preoperative peroneal nerve dysfunction 30% of the time and 23% of those who were normal preoperatively have postoperative dysfunction. Fortunately, nearly all patients have a complete recovery following excision of the osteochondroma.

Lead Researchers

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  1. Kevin Smit

    Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

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