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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 1998 May;(350):90-6.

Local or free muscle flaps and unreamed interlocked nails for open tibial fractures.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center 90033, USA.


The treatment of open tibial fractures associated with severe soft tissue injuries remains a difficult dilemma, even to the experienced fracture surgeon. To ascertain the efficacy of nailing tibial fractures with severe soft tissue injuries, a review of all open tibial fractures treated at the authors' institution was done. Those fractures initially stabilized with nonreamed nails which required muscle flaps for coverage were selected for study. Thirty-three patients (26 men, seven women) were treated with intramedullary nailing and muscle flap coverage for the soft tissue defects. The average length of followup was 12.1 months (range, 7-42 months). The average time to union was 27 weeks (range, 14-45 weeks). There were five (15%) infections: two (6%) superficial wound infections, one (3%) flap infection, and two (6%) cases of osteomyelitis. In no patient did the infection result in limb ablation. Thirteen of 33 (42%) patients required secondary procedures to enhance union. In this study, it was found that although delayed procedures frequently were required to promote fracture union, the time to union, and infection rates were not significantly different from those reported for external fixation of fractures that require local or free muscle transfers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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