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Logo of brjsmedBritish Journal of Sports MedicineView this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Br J Sports Med. Dec 1997; 31(4): 319–321.
PMCID: PMC1332567

Playing with metal: fracture implants and contact sport.


OBJECTIVE: To assess the outcome of athletes returning to contact sport with indwelling fracture implants. METHOD: A retrospective analysis of professional rugby union players competing in the South Wales premier league. RESULTS: Fifteen athletes were identified who had returned to competitive rugby union with retained fracture implants during the period 1990-97. After fracture fixation, the players resumed their preinjury level of contact sport within one to 12 months. Only two athletes suffered complications in relation to the retained implant, whereas the other 13 athletes played for up to six years without symptoms. CONCLUSION: The results from this preliminary series suggest that an early return to contact sport is feasible in selected cases. Avoiding the extended delay associated with implant removal affords not only minimal disruption to competitive participation, but also prevents prolonged financial losses for the professional player.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Richards RH, Palmer JD, Clarke NM. Observations on removal of metal implants. Injury. 1992;23(1):25–28. [PubMed]
  • Rosson JW, Petley GW, Shearer JR. Bone structure after removal of internal fixation plates. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1991 Jan;73(1):65–67. [PubMed]
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  • Sanderson PL, Ryan W, Turner PG. Complications of metalwork removal. Injury. 1992;23(1):29–30. [PubMed]
  • Rosson JW, Shearer JR. Refracture after the removal of plates from the forearm. An avoidable complication. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1991 May;73(3):415–417. [PubMed]

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