Congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia continues to pose one of the most difficult problems in paediatric orthopaedic surgery. The surgical procedures most used for treating congenital pseudarthrosis of the tibia are intramedullary nailing associated with bone grafting, vascularized fibular graft and the Ilizarov external circular fixator. Even when union is achieved, the residual deformities in the affected limb often result in significant disability. These deformities include leg-length discrepancy, angular tibial deformities, ankle mortise valgus and fibular non-union. The Ilizarov method allows simultaneous excision of the pseudarthrosis site, correction of the deformity and lengthening. However, refractures, ankle joint stiffness, fibular non-union with progressive ankle valgus are frequent sequelae with the Ilizarov technique. The surgeon should know when to abandon reconstructive procedures and create a more functional patient with an amputation. The authors discuss the indications and results of the Ilizarov external fixator in two patients with this complex problem. In addition, a critical review of the current literature is undertaken.