JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Comparison between locked intramedullary nailing and plate osteosynthesis in the management of adult forearm fractures].

OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the results of two different surgical methods for the treatment of adult diaphyseal fractures of both forearm bones.

METHODS: Forty-two adult patients with forearm fractures were retrospectively evaluated. Of these, 22 patients (7 women, 15 men; mean age 32 years; range 18 to 69 years) underwent open reduction and plate-screw fixation, and 20 patients (6 women, 14 men; mean age 33 years; range 18 to 70 years) underwent closed reduction and locked intramedullary nail fixation. The fractures were classified according to the AO/OTA system. The patients were assessed using the Grace-Eversmann criteria and the DASH (Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) questionnaire. The mean follow-up was 30 months (range 12 to 45) with plate-screw fixation, and 23 months (range 12 to 34) with intramedullary nailing.

RESULTS: The mean operation time was 65 minutes (range 40 to 97 min) with plate-screw fixation, and 61 minutes (range 35 to 90 min) with intramedullary nailing (p>0.05). The mean time to union was significantly shorter with intramedullary nailing (10 weeks vs. 14 weeks; p<0.05). According to the Grace-Eversmann criteria, the results were excellent or good in 18 patients (81.8%) and acceptable in four patients (18.2%) treated with plate-screw fixation, compared to 18 patients (90%) and two patients (10%), respectively, treated with intramedullary nailing. The mean DASH scores were 15 (range 4 to 30) and 13 (range 3 to 25), respectively. The two groups did not differ significantly with respect to functional results and DASH scores (p>0.05). Postoperative complications were seen in three patients (13.6%) and two patients (10%) with plate-screw fixation and intramedullary nailing, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The two fixation methods yield similar results in terms of functional healing and patient satisfaction in the management of adult forearm fractures.

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