The treatment of open femoral fractures with bone loss
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
The results of the treatment of 31 open femoral fractures (29 patients) with significant bone loss in a single trauma unit were reviewed. A protocol of early soft-tissue and bony debridement was followed by skeletal stabilisation using a locked intramedullary nail or a dynamic condylar plate for diaphyseal and metaphyseal fractures respectively. Soft-tissue closure was obtained within 48 hours then followed, if required, by elective bone grafting with or without exchange nailing. The mean time
... ing. The mean time to union was 51 weeks (20 to 156). The time to union and functional outcome were largely dependent upon the location and extent of the bone loss. It was achieved more rapidly in fractures with wedge defects than in those with segmental bone loss. Fractures with metaphyseal defects healed more rapidly than those of comparable size in the diaphysis. Complications were more common in fractures with greater bone loss, and included stiffness of the knee, malunion and limb-length discrepancy. Based on our findings, we have produced an algorithm for the treatment of these injuries. We conclude that satisfactory results can be achieved in most femoral fractures with bone loss using initial debridement and skeletal stabilisation to maintain length, with further procedures as required.