[Elastic intramedullary nailing of the tibia with the Marchetti-Vicenzi nail. 43 treated cases]

M B Benmansour, M Gottin, J L Rouvillain, G Larosa, C Dib, H Dintimille, Y Catonné
Revue de Chirurgie Orthopédique et Réparatrice de L'appareil Moteur 1999, 85 (3): 267-76

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The purpose of this study was to analyse the results of tibial intramedullary nailing using an unreamed "Universal Elastic Bundle Nail".

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Forty-three intramedullary nailing of tibial shaft were done in 43 patients with recents fractures, from May 1993 and May 1996. There were 36 males and 7 females. The average age was 31.5 years (range 17-68 years). Thirty-three were injured in a traffic accident (20 motorcycles, 5 pedestrians and 8 car passengers), seven were injured in a home accident (fall) and three had a sport injury. There were 13 open fractures according to Gustilo: 5 grade I, 7 grade II and one grade III B. Eight fractures involved the proximal metaphyseal part of the tibia, 16 the distal metaphyseal part and 14 the tibial shaft; in five cases there were segmental fractures. According to AO classification there were: 10 fractures type A, 24 fractures type B and 9 fractures type C (5 segmental fractures). In 5 cases there were associated femoral fractures: three ipsilaterals and two controlaterals. All were treated in the same time: four by UEBN device and one by AO's nail. All the patients with type B and C fractures were positioned on a Maquet table with a boot traction or transcalcaneal pin traction (in the distal fractures). The nail was introduced after closed reduction through a vertical transpatellar tendon incision, without reaming procedure.

RESULTS: Forty one fractures healed after an average time of 96 days (60-120). In 11 open fractures bone union occurred after 98 days (85-120). The distal fractures healed after a mean time of 86 days (60-120), proximal fractures in 123 days and mid shaft fractures in 98 days. In type A fractures bone union occurred after an average time of 68 days, while bone union occurred after a mean time of 100 days in type B and C fractures. Two patients with an open proximal type B fracture, had a delayed union: both healed after proximal screws removal. Two fractures healed with a valgus angulaton 5 degrees and 10 degrees. No infection, no loss of reduction and no bundle migration has been noted.

DISCUSSION: The Marchetti-Vicenzi's nail (UEBN) permitted a stable fixation in tibial fractures. The use of this unreamed nailing coupled with an automatic distal locking in the metaphyseal cancellous bone, reduced operative time and shortened X Ray's radiation exposure. At the follow-up fracture healing occurred in 41 cases 95.3 p. 100 at four months. Two delayed union occurred after four months, the two cases were open fractures grade II. All the two cases healed after secondary procedure without any loss of function. Malunion occurred in two patients (in only one case there was a major valgus angulation 10 degrees), the two cases were related to technical error. We had no cases of infection or leg shortening or bundle migration in the ankle joint.

CONCLUSION: We believe that Universal Elastic Bundle Nail allows a stable and safety fixation in open or closed tibial fractures without pseudarthrosis and without infection (in our series).

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