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Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2012 Sep;9(3):191-4. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Conservative versus surgical treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta: a retrospective analysis of 29 patients.

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  • 1Orthopaedic and Trauma Clinic II, University of Bologna, Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, Bologna, Italy.


The aim of our study was to compare the surgical and conservative treatment of patients affected by fragility fractures and deformities of long bones in osteogenesis imperfecta (OI).Our series consisted of 29 consecutive OI patients treated at our Institute. The series comprised 14 females and 15 males of different ages. The mean age at the time of the first treatment was 8 years (median 6 years; SD ± 15; range 1 to 75). The mean follow-up was 88 months. The Sillence classification was used to classify OI. Fifteen patients were classified as Type I; five as Type III and nine as Type IV.A total number of 245 procedures were recorded. Of these, 147 were surgical (pinning; intramedullary nailing and plating) while 98 were conservative (cast, braces and bandages). Bisphosphonate use was a major variable in the study. Clinical charts and radiographic films were analyzed for complications (delayed union, nonunion, malunion, hardware loosening). We recorded 58 complications: 13 in Type I; 28 in Type III and 17 in Type IV OI. The rate of each complication was: 15/245 nonunions (6.1%), 14/245 delayed unions (5.7%), 14/245 malunions (5.7%) and 15/245 hardware loosenings (6.1%).We found no statistically significant differences between surgical and conservative treatments. Type III OI, which is a very crippling form of the disease, was associated with radiographically poorer results than the other types. In our analysis, the two groups were unbalanced and only five patients were treated with bisphosphonates. Nevertheless, bisphosphonate use can be considered a good adjuvant to both the conservative and surgical treatment of OI in order to reduce the rate of complications.


bisphosphonates; complications; conservative treatment; osteogenesis imperfecta; surgical treatment

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