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A Journal on Orthopedics and Traumatology

Official Journal of the Piedmontese-Ligurian-Lombard Society of Orthopedics and Traumatology
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Minerva Ortopedica e Traumatologica 2005 December;56(6):497-503

language: Italian

Treatment of tibial shaft fractures with external fixation

Ferro L., Aloj D., Aprato A., Massè A., Biasibetti A.

Prima Clinica Ortopedica Università degli Studi di Torino Ospedale CTO, Torino


Aim. The aim of this paper is the review of the results of 89 high energy and 25 low energy tibial shaft fractures treated with external fixation at the CTO Hospital in Turin over a 10 years period (1992-2001).
Methods. We have analysed clinical, prognostic and therapeutic variables we found in health records or we gathered during the telephone interview that our patients accepted to answer.
Results. Mean hospitalization time, external fixation time and healing time in the high energy and low energy fracture groups were 37.1 (standard deviation=24.3) and 13.8 (SD=13.8) days (P=0.003); 167.9 (SD=81.3) and 107.8 (SD=31.6) days (P=0.001); and 218.4 (SD=121.8) and 140 (SD=46) days (P=0.001), respectively. Non-union was seen in 7 high energy fractures, infection in 4. These patients were asked to answer one disease-specific questionnaire (WOMAC osteoarthritis index). Comparing the high energy and low energy fracture groups, the interclass correlation coefficients for pain, stiffness and physical function were 0.001, 0.15 and 0.418 respectively. Comparing healing time and age, the Spear-man’s rank correlation coefficient was 0.1732 (P=0.343) for high energy closed fractures, while it was 0.4027 (P=0.046) for low energy fractures.
Conclusion. We have found the external fixation a safe and reliable way for treating not only high energy but also low energy fractures of the tibial shaft.

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