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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006 Apr;445:230-2.

Duration of preoperative traction associated with sciatic neuropathy after hip fracture surgery.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Martini Hospital, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Abstract

An unknown percentage of patients who have internal fixation for hip fractures have sciatic neuropathy develop. In most cases, the cause for this complication is unknown. We retrospectively reviewed 2202 consecutive patients treated in our hospital for hip fractures to ascertain whether there was any relationship between duration of preoperative traction and postoperative sciatic neuropathy, and to determine the incidence of sciatic neuropathy after surgery for hip fractures. All patients had preoperative skin traction. Patients with and without sciatic neuropathy were compared using nonparametric tests. The median duration of traction was 2.6 days in the group that had sciatic neuropathy develop and 0.9 days in the group that did not. Also, patients in the group that had sciatic palsy develop were older. There seemed to be no other difference between the groups for any of the studied variables. Sixteen patients (0.7 %) had postoperative sciatic neuropathy. Our data suggest sciatic neuropathy after surgery for hip fractures may be related to the duration of preoperative traction. Some investigators have reported that there seems to be no evidence of benefit from skeletal or skin traction. A potential for damage to the sciatic nerve may be an argument to stop routine use of preoperative traction.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Diagnostic study, Level III (study of nonconsecutive patients; without consistently applied reference "gold" standard).

PMID:
16601417
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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