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J Orthop Trauma. 2007 Aug;21(7):507-11.

Infected nonunion of the long bones.

Author information

  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Academic Medical Centre; Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • J Orthop Trauma. 2013 Dec;27(12):e274.



Although definitions vary, infected nonunion has been defined as a state of failure of union and persistence of infection at the fracture site for 6 to 8 months.>). Infected nonunions of the supracondylar region of the femur are uncommon and are mostly due to a severe open fracture with extensive comminution and segmental bone loss or after internal fixation of a comminuted closed fracture. Associated factors include exposed bone devoid of vascularized periosteal coverage for more than 6 weeks, purulent discharge, a positive bacteriological culture from the depth of the wound, and histologic evidence of necrotic bone containing empty lacunae. Soft-tissue loss with multiple sinuses, osteomyelitis, osteopenia, complex deformities with limb-length inequality, stiffness of the adjacent joint, polybacterial multidrug-resistant infection, and smoking all complicate treatment and recovery. Although uncommon in incidence, infected nonunions of the long bones present a great challenge to the orthopaedic surgeon in providing optimal treatment of this entity. To give direction to the optimal strategy, this systematic review was performed.


We aimed to review the highest level of available evidence on the operative management of infected nonunions of the long bones.

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