Complications and technical pitfalls of titanium elastic nail fixation for midclavicular fractures

Cheng-Chang Lu, Ping-Cheng Liu, Shih-Hao Huang, Chih-Hsin Hsieh, Yin-Chun Tien, Song-Hsiung Chien
Orthopedics 2014, 37 (4): e377-83
Intramedullary titanium elastic nails have been reported to fix displaced midclavicular fractures with excellent functional outcomes and minor complications. This study reports and analyzes the complications and technical pitfalls associated with titanium elastic nail fixation of displaced midclavicular fractures and describes how to prevent these problems. The authors operated on 27 patients (17 men, 10 women; mean age, 45.8 years; range, 16.5-66.9 years) with marked displaced midclavicular fractures using intramedullary titanium elastic nail fixation. The mean Constant score and Disability of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score were 93.58 (range, 66.5-100) and 6.22 (range, 0-35), respectively. The mean length difference compared with the contralateral clavicle was a shortening of 0.3 cm (range, -1.5 to 1 cm). Eight patients (30%) had different levels of difficulty at the medial entry point. Clavicular length shortening of more than 1 cm occurred in 5 patients (19%), and all of these patients experienced medial nail tip prominence/protrusion. One patient had 1-cm lengthening of the injured clavicle caused by distraction of the fracture site during titanium elastic nail insertion. Iatrogenic perforation of the posterolateral cortex occurred in 3 patients. Initial misplaced nail insertion occurred in 1 woman who underwent revision with the mini-open method. In 2 patients it was impossible to remove the full nail under general anesthesia. In conclusion, high patient satisfaction and functional outcomes were achieved after titanium elastic nail fixation of displaced midclavicular fractures. However, some complications and technical pitfalls must be considered before titanium elastic nails are used to fix displaced midclavicular fractures.

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