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Injury. 2011 Sep;42 Suppl 4:S17-21. doi: 10.1016/S0020-1383(11)70007-9.

Reamed versus minimally reamed nailing: a prospectively randomised study of 100 patients with closed fractures of the tibia.

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  • 1Sportordination Vienna, Alserstrase 28/12, Vienna, Austria.


It is generally accepted that in tibial fractures the results of reamed intramedullary nailing are better than those of unreamed. However, it is not known whether the clinical effects of reaming are cumulative or if minimal reaming would induce the same beneficial effects as more extensive reaming. This international multicentre study has investigated the effects of different degrees of reaming. 100 patients with closed diaphyseal tibial fractures were prospectively randomised in two centres. Method of treatment was reamed nailing up to 12 mm inserting an 11 mm tibial nail (n: 50), and minimally reamed nailing up to 10 mm inserting a 9 mm tibial nail (n: 50). All patients included in the study had follow-up studies at 4,8,12,16,26 and 52 weeks after trauma. Sixty-six male and thirty-four female patients with an average age of 37.5 years were included in the study. Gender, age, and injury side were identical in both groups. There was no significant difference of complications in the two methods. The rate of deep wound infections was higher in the reamed group (n: 3) versus the minimally reamed group (n: 1). Union occurred earlier in the reamed group (17 wks) compared to patients with minimally reamed nailing (19 wks), and there were more patients with reamed nails in whom the fracture had healed by 16 weeks (57%) versus the minimally reamed group (43%), however, this was not statistically significant. Pain scales were similar for both groups from week 4 to week 52. A considerable number of outcome parameters including knee and ankle function, as well as the comparison of time intervals to restart certain activities, and return to work showed no significant statistical difference between the two groups. However, patients of the extensive reamed group returned earlier to running, training, and normal sports activities. This study found no significant evidence that more extensive reaming gave better results, however there seemed to be a tendency of more aggressive reaming to induce earlier fracture healing with a tendency of faster recovery times.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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