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Scand J Surg. 2013;102(4):258-64. doi: 10.1177/1457496913490459. Epub 2013 Sep 20.

A new mini-invasive technique in treating pediatric diaphyseal forearm fractures by bioabsorbable elastic stable intramedullary nailing: a preliminary technical report.

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  • 1Division of Paediatric Surgery and Orthopaedics, Department of Children and Adolescents, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.



Operative treatment is often indicated in unstable pediatric diaphyseal forearm fractures. Recently minimally invasive reduction and elastic stable intramedullary nailing have been of increasing interest, instead of open reduction and internal fixation with plates. There are several disadvantages of metallic intramedullary implants, such as soft-tissue irritation and a risk of disturbing later imaging. Thus, they are generally removed in later operations. We aimed to develop a new technique to stabilize pediatric forearm fractures by the bioabsorbable intramedullary nailing.


We developed a new, two-stage mini-invasive surgical technique to stabilize the unstable diaphyseal fractures in children. The procedure is bioabsorbable elastic stable intramedullary nailing. Ultra-high-strength bioabsorbable intramedullary nails of poly(lactide-co-glycolide) were manufactured for our purpose. The material has been widely proven to be biocompatible and stable enough for fracture treatment as screws and pins. We have used the new technique in the unstable both-bone diaphyseal forearm fractures in children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. We report the technique and our clinical experience in the series of those three cases that have been followed up for at least 12 months. The present series has been randomized for the procedure instead for titanium elastic stable intramedullary nailing, and the series represents a part of ongoing randomized trial.


The reported cases operated by the new technique referred good union in the fractured bones and acceptable alignment in the follow-up. Removal of the implants was not required. No troubles with the procedure or implant per se were noticed, indicating good feasibility. One high-energy refracture occurred half year after the primary trauma. Traditional titanium implants were used to control the refracture.


We report our preliminary experience of a new surgical mini-invasive procedure to stabilize the unstable pediatric forearm shaft fractures by bioabsorbable elastic stable intramedullary nailing. Our clinical experience suggests that the procedure combined with long-arm casting is feasible in treating the pediatric forearm fractures. The technique may bring benefits to handling these challenging fractures. The disadvantages of metallic implants may be avoided. In addition, removal of the implant will not be required. There was one refracture in the series, but it was due to new high-energy trauma. According to our understanding, it was not related to the type of former osteosynthesis. However, ignoring the good preliminary experience, still we do not have results of the superiority of the procedure over traditional elastic stable intramedullary nailing. Our ongoing randomized multicenter study is aimed to determine its long-term outcome against the present golden standard. Nevertheless, due to encouraging preliminary results, we see it necessary to report the technique.


Children and adolescents; bioabsorbable implants; forearm injuries; fracture fixation; intramedullary nailing; orthopedic surgical procedures; pediatric; radius and ulna

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