An Italian team of orthopaedic surgeons joined Eritrean colleagues to perform a clinical study in ambulating children affected by neglected idiopathic congenital talipes equinovarus (clubfoot). This study reports the surgical strategy as well as clinical outcomes, early complications and relapse at a mid-term follow-up. Four expeditions of 7 days were organized between 2012 and 2015 from Italy to the Halibet Hospital of Asmara in Eritrea. In each expedition were included two experienced surgeons, two assistants and one anaesthesiologist. During these expeditions, a total of 468 patients were evaluated together with Eritrean colleagues and 45 cases of neglected talipes equinovarus in ambulating children were diagnosed and selected for surgery. Follow-up range was 1-3 years. During the four expeditions, the Eritrean team of orthopaedic surgeons learned to manage most cases of neglected talipes equinovarus. No major complications were reported. Sixteen feet were considered excellent, 25 good and four poor. No overcorrections were observed. Neglected congenital talipes equinovarus is the result of delayed treatment of congenital deformity in developing countries, and its treatment often requires extensive surgery. Collaboration with foreign expert surgeons may help local doctors to learn how to treat this disease. The current study demonstrates that surgical expeditions in developing countries, when organized in collaboration with local doctors, help to manage on site this severe deformity.
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