Flexible intramedullary nailing for stabilization of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures: technique and results in 87 patients

Mark Kettler, Matthias Schieker, Volker Braunstein, Matthias König, Wolf Mutschler
Acta Orthopaedica 2007, 78 (3): 424-9

BACKGROUND: Elastic, stable intramedullary nailing (ESIN) with titanium nails is a promising minimally treatment for displaced midclavicular fractures, which may be an alternative to plate fixation (ORIF) or even nonoperative treatment. We describe the surgical technique and outcome in 87 patients.

METHODS: The nail was inserted at the medial inferior end of the clavicle in 83 patients and in the acromial end in 12 patients. An open fracture reduction via an additional small incision was necessary in 53 patients and closed manoeuvre was successful in 42. Implant removal was performed in 82 patients.

RESULTS: The functional status of 87 patients after 13 months reached 6.8 (0-43) points on the DASH score and 81 (46-100) points on the self-reported Constant score. The fracture healed in correct anatomical axis in 80 of 87 patients, 2 cases ended in a nonunion. Implant migration of the nail occurred in 4 patients, who required early implant removal. Repeated nailing was necessary in 2 patients in whom the nail missed the lateral medullar canal, and plate fixation was necessary in 2 other patients who had secondary dislocation after early nail removal.

INTERPRETATION: Flexible intramedullary nailing, a minimally invasive technique for stabilization of displaced midshaft clavicle fractures, has minor risks and complications.

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