Meningococcal disease remains a leading cause of childhood mortality in the UK. Advances in resuscitation have resulted in survival of severely affected individuals and the long-term skeletal consequences are being increasingly recognised. The immediate management of the ischaemic limb in the context of a critically ill and haemodynamically unstable child is described and the indications for fasciotomy and amputation are considered. Long-term disability occurs as a consequence of limb malalignment and is often accompanied by significant injury to the soft tissue envelope. The function of surviving limbs can be enhanced using contemporary surgical techniques that involve realignment and lengthening. Amputees present specific difficulties due to the effect of remaining longitudinal growth on the function of the residual limb, and require surgical treatment that often continues throughout childhood. This overview considers the surgical algorithms that have evolved to treat these patients.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.