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Immediate internal fixation of open fractures of the diaphysis of the forearm.

Immediate (within 24 h) open reduction and internal fixation of 103 open fractures of one or both bones of the forearm was accomplished in 69 patients between 1980 and 1989. Fifty-four of the 103 patients were reevaluated 1 to 7 years postinjury (average 2.5 years) to determine the efficacy of this treatment. Forty-five (90%) of the 50 patients with Grade I, II, or IIIA injuries had satisfactory results. The four patients with Grade IIIB or IIIC injuries had unacceptable results. This study demonstrates, as have previous investigations, that immediate open reduction and internal fixation of open forearm fractures provide acceptable results in Grades I, II, and selected Grade III injuries. The subdivision of Grade III fractures into A, B, and C types provides a previously unreported statistically significant difference in the results obtained in management of these injuries. The difference in results in Grade I, II, and IIIA injuries as compared to the Grade IIIB and C injuries was statistically significant (p = 0.0004). The difference in Grade IIIA injuries as compared to Grade IIIB and C injuries was also significant (p = 0.014). Immediate open reduction and internal fixation can be recommended in Grade I, II, and IIIA open forearm fractures. Although it is unclear from this report whether the results in Grade IIIB and C fractures were due to the management protocol, the severity of the initial injury, or combined factors, immediate open reduction and plate fixation yielded poor results in these injuries.

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