Treatment of Pediatric Open Femoral Fractures with External Fixator Versus Flexible Intramedullary Nails

Document Type : RESEARCH PAPER


1 Tehran University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran.

2 Shohada Teaching Hospital Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

3 Poursina Teaching Hospital Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Guilan, Iran.


Background: In children, inappropriate treatment of open femoral fractures may induce several complications. A few studies have compared the external fixator with flexible intramedullary nails in high-grade open femoral fractures of children. The present study aims at comparing results of these two treatment methods in open femoral fractures.
In this descriptive analytical study, 27 patients with open femoral fractures, who were treated using either the external fixator (n=14) or TEN nails (n=13) method from 2006-2011, were studied. Some patients were treated with a combination method of TEN and pin. The results were evaluated considering infection, union, malunion, and refracture and the patients were followed up for two years.
Mean time required for fracture union was 3.89 (range: 2-5.8) and 3.61 (range: 2-5.6) months for the external fixator and TEN groups, respectively. The difference was not statistically significant and there was not any significant difference between the two groups considering infection of the fractured area. Osteomyelitis was not observed in any group. There was an infection surrounding the external fixator pin in 4 cases (28.5%) and so this required changing the location of the pin. In the TEN group, one case (7.6%) of painful bursitis was observed at the entry point of TEN and so the pin was removed earlier than usual. There were two cases (14.2%) of femoral refracture in the external fixator group. Malunion requiring correction was not observed in any of the groups. There were no complications observed in five patients treated with a combined method of pin and flexible intramedullary nails.
Both external fixator and intramedullary nail methods are effective ways in treating high grade open femoral fractures in children and final treatment results are similar. Combining pins and flexible intramedullary nails is effective in developing more stability and is not associated with more complications.


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