Volume 4, 2018
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||07 September 2018|
Sequential management of tibial fractures using a temporary unicortical external fixator
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Traumatology and Reconstructive Surgery, Percy Military Hospital,
2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology, Sainte-Anne Military Hospital, Toulon, France
3 Department of Surgery, French Military Health Service Academy, École du Val-de-Grâce, Paris, France
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 29 May 2018
Introduction: The development of damage control orthopedics (DCO) procedures has led to the development of temporary unicortical external fixators (TUEFs) intended to limit deep infectious complications and facilitate early conversion to internal fixation.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted in two French military trauma centers, including on patients being treated for tibial fractures with a TUEF (UNYCO® − Orthofix®) followed by an early conversion to intramedullary nailing.
Results: Eleven patients with an average age of 41 were included between September 2015 and June 2017. A total of 12 TUEFs were implanted for one closed fracture and 11 open fractures, including one type I, eight types II, and two Gustilo types IIIB. The indication of DCO was related to hemodynamic instability in three cases, to the severity of soft tissue lesions in eight cases, and to the context of treatment in one case. The conversion to IM nailing was made after an average of 7.6 days. No significant loss of reduction was observed until internal osteosynthesis, which was performed with “fixator in place” in ten cases. The coverage of Gustilo type III injuries was performed by free flap transfers at the same time as IM nailing. All the patients were reviewed with an average follow-up of 16.5 months. Bone union was achieved in all cases. Two IM nailing dynamizations were carried out, but no bone grafting was required. Two cases of pandiaphysitis were observed and treated without functional complications.
Discussion: Despite a limited number of patients, this study demonstrates the reliability of the TUEF to maintain the reduction of tibial fractures and facilitate early conversion to IM nailing. Unicortical fixation does not prevent septic complications related to the severity of soft tissue injuries.
Key words: Damage control orthopedics / Open tibial fracture / Unicortical external fixator / Intramedullary nailing
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2018
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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