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Med Sci Monit. 2011 Nov;17(11):CR640-645.

Adult tibial shaft fractures - different patterns, various treatments and complications.

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Akhtar Orthopaedic Hospital, Shahid Beheshti Medical University, Tehran, Iran.



Tibial Fractures constitute a large number of emergency operations in most trauma centers. There are different approaches for tibial fractures. To our knowledge, there is insufficient evidence to consider post-operative complications in relation to both surgical methods and the types of fractures. Our purpose is to report our experience regarding the efficacy and complications associated with diverse surgical methods of different patterns of tibial shaft fractures in adults.


We studied 387 adult patients. The patients' information was registered from the charts and after examination. The methods used were intramedullary interlocking nails, simple intramedullary rods, plating and external fixation. Early and late complications were recorded and by applying the DELPHI method different treatments were compared. Finally, the safest mode of treatment is proposed.


In the intramedullary interlocking nails method the most noticeable complication was delayed union and the highest rate of complications was seen in open oblique fractures. In the simple intramedullary rods method the most frequent complication was pain, and in the with butterfly fractures the complications were the most. In the plating method the most frequent complication was pain, and most of the complications were seen in open comminuted fractures. Finally, in the external fixation method the most frequent complication was non-union and complications were the highest in the patients with oblique, comminuted and segmented fractures.


The proposed method to treat transverse, oblique and butterfly fractures is simple intramedullary rods; whereas intramedullary interlocking nails is the better method for comminuted, segmented and spiral fractures.

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