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SA Orthopaedic Journal

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


NIEUWOUDT, L; FERREIRA, N  and  MARAIS, LC. Short-term results of grade III open tibia fractures treated with circular fixators. SA orthop. j. [online]. 2016, vol.15, n.3, pp.20-26. ISSN 2309-8309.

Grade III open tibia fractures have previously been shown to have high infection and non-union rates, and the optimal treatment remains controversial. We present the short-term results of 94 consecutive Gustilo-Anderson grade III open tibia fractures, definitively treated with circular external fixators in this retrospective study. A total of 94 patients (80 males and 14 females), with a mean age of 36.5 years (range 8-73) were followed up for a mean period of 12 months (range 6-52). Deep infection occurred in four patients (4.3%) and non-union in three patients (3.2%). The mean time to union was 23 weeks (range 11-79). The prevalence of HIV infection was 32.9% and no statistically significant association between HIV infection and an increased risk of deep infection (p = 0.601) or nonunion (p = 0.577) could be demonstrated. Pin-site infection occurred in 16% with the majority being low-grade infections. The management of grade III open tibia fractures with definitive circular external fixation delivered promising short-term results with low complication rates in terms of infection and non-union.

Keywords : tibia; open fracture; circular fixator; Ilizarov; non-union; HIV; infection.

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