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J Orthop Trauma. 2007 Apr;21(4):258-68.

Antibiotic cement-coated interlocking nail for the treatment of infected nonunions and segmental bone defects.

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Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast, United Kingdom.


Chronic infection of bone with nonunion and/or bone defects is traditionally treated by a 2-stage procedure involving initial debridement and antibiotic delivery and then definitive internal fixation. Alternatively, external fixators are used to provide stability. A technique with which antibiotic cement-coated interlocking intramedullary nails are prepared in the operating room with the use of nails and materials that generally are available is herein described. Although useful for all infected nonunions and/or segmental bone defects, this technique is particularly useful for patients who are not ideal candidates for external fixation and for those who do not want to have an external fixator applied. This technique was used in a series of 20 patients. In 17 patients, the goal of bony union was achieved (85%). In the remaining 3 patients (15%), the goal of control of infection was achieved with stable nonunion (1 patient) and stable nonunion with cement spacer (2 patients). In 95% of the patients (19 of 20 patients) control of infection was achieved except for in 1 patient, who had a bony union with intermittent wound discharge and subsequently underwent an above-the-knee amputation. Three patients (15%) needed exchange nailing to another antibiotic cement-coated nail (for continued infection) before complete control of infection could be achieved. Four patients (20%) experienced cement-nail debonding during removal of the antibiotic cement-coated nail (3 during exchange to an uncoated intramedullary nail, 1 during removal at the request of patient). One patient experienced partial debonding at insertion, coinciding with the site of segmental defect, which was treated with an antibiotic cement spacer. In summary, control of infection and stability to promote union has traditionally been provided by 2 separate procedures, which have proved to be efficacious in the past. However, both these goals can be achieved in half the patients with 1 surgical procedure in a variety of scenarios using the technique of an antibiotic cement-coated intramedullary nail.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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