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vol.15 issue1The pathogenesis of tibial non-unionEvaluation of the first experience of intramedullary nail lengthening using PRECICE® in a South African limb lengthening and reconstruction unit author indexsubject indexarticles search
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SA Orthopaedic Journal

On-line version ISSN 2309-8309
Print version ISSN 1681-150X

Abstract

FERREIRA, N; MARAIS, LC  and  ALDOUS, C. Management of tibial non-unions: Prospective evaluation of a comprehensive treatment algorithm. SA orthop. j. [online]. 2016, vol.15, n.1, pp.60-66. ISSN 2309-8309.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-8309/2016/v15n1a6.

Tibial non-unions represent a spectrum of conditions and are challenging to treat. The optimal management remains unclear despite the frequency with which these diagnoses are encountered. We developed a tibial nonunion treatment algorithm following two retrospective audits of our patient outcomes and evaluated this algorithm in this prospective series. Thirty-seven consecutive patients with 39 uninfected tibial non-unions were treated according to our proposed treatment algorithm. There were 30 men and seven women with a mean age of 34 years. Twenty-three non-unions were classified as stiff hypertrophic, ten mobile atrophic and four mobile oligotrophic. Two non-unions were classified as type B1 defect non-unions. Bony union was achieved after the initial treatment in 37/39 (94.8%) tibias. Two patients had failure of treatment. These patients presented with progressive deformity after the external fixator was removed. One of these patients was successfully retreated according to the tibial non-union treatment algorithm. This resulted in final bony union after treatment in 38/39 (97.4%) tibias. Our proposed treatment algorithm appears to produce high union rates across a diverse group of tibial non-unions. These conditions however, remain difficult to treat and should be referred to specialist units where advanced reconstructive techniques are practised on a regular basis.

Keywords : Ilizarov; hexapod; non-union; circular external fixator.

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