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Internal fixation of diaphyseal fractures of the forearm by interlocking intramedullary nail: short-term results in eighteen patients.

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment of diaphyseal fractures of the forearm using the ForeSight forearm interlocking intramedullary nail.

DESIGN: Retrospective study.

SETTING: University-affiliated teaching hospital.

PATIENTS: Eighteen patients with 32 displaced diaphyseal forearm fractures were identified.

INTERVENTION: All fractures were treated with the ForeSight forearm interlocking intramedullary nail. Eighteen fractures were stabilized with static interlocking technique.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The assessment of patients was based on the time to union, the functional recovery, and the incidence of complications. Physical capability was evaluated by using the rating system of Grace and Eversmann. Patient-rated outcome was assessed by completion of the Disability of Arm Shoulder Hand questionnaire (DASH).

RESULTS: All fractures healed with the index procedure. The average time to union for fractures utilizing a closed technique was 10 weeks; for fractures using an open reduction technique, 15 weeks. The mean pronation was 62 (range, 0-96) degrees, and the mean supination was 80 (range, 0-105) degrees. Compared with the normal arm, the mean loss of rotation of the forearm was 32 (range, 5-162) degrees. Using the rating system of Grace and Eversmann, 13 patients had an excellent or good result, 3 had an acceptable result, and 2 had an unacceptable result. Using the patient-rated functional questionnaire, the mean DASH of 19 (range, 4-72) points at the time of the most recent follow-up indicated a mild-to-moderate impairment. There were 7 postoperative complications. The incidence of complications was 22% (7/32). One cross-union between forearm bones occurred in a patient with a closed head injury and high-energy trauma. Two nondriving end screws of the ulna nail backed out causing wrist pain and had to be removed. There were 4 superficial infections occurring all in the fractures that necessitated an open reduction technique. The overall rate of infection was 12.5% (4/32). Three patients who presented with an open fracture needed a skin graft to cover the open wound.

CONCLUSIONS: Forearm interlocking intramedullary nailing is an acceptable method to stabilize displaced diaphyseal forearm fractures in adult.

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