JOURNAL ARTICLE

Staged protocol for the treatment of chronic femoral shaft osteomyelitis with Ilizarov's technique followed by the use of intramedullary locked nail

Po-Hsin Chou, Hsi-Hsien Lin, Yu-Pin Su, Chao-Ching Chiang, Ming-Chau Chang, Chuan-Mu Chen
Journal of the Chinese Medical Association: JCMA 2017, 80 (6): 376-382
28242358

BACKGROUND: Infected nonunion of the femoral shaft is uncommon, and usually presents with challenging therapeutic and reconstructive problems. There are still controversies over treating infected nonunion of the femoral shaft. The purposes of this retrospective study were to review the treatment outcomes and describe a staged protocol for spontaneous wound healing.

METHODS: Six patients with chronic femoral shaft infected-nonunion from October 2002 to September 2010 were included in this retrospective study. Serial plain films and triple films of lower legs were performed to evaluate the alignment of the treated femoral shaft and bony union following our staged protocol of Ilizarov distraction osteogenesis and intramedullary nailing.

RESULTS: An average bone defect of 7 cm was noted after staged osteotomy. Mean follow-up was 87.5 (range, 38-133) months. Union was achieved in all six patients, with an average external fixation time of 6.8 (range, 5-11) months. There was no reinfection. One complication of a 4-cm leg discrepancy was noted, with an initial shortening of 15 cm. The mean knee ranges of motion (ROM) before staged protocols and at final follow-up were 64.2±8.6 (range, 60-75)° and 53.3±9.3 (range, 40-65)°, respectively. The ROM at the knee joint statistically decreased following staged protocols.

CONCLUSION: In the treatment of chronic femur osteomyelitis, the staged protocol of Ilizarov distraction osteogenesis followed by intramedullary nailing was safe and successful, and allowed for union, realignment, reorientation, and leg-length restoration. With regard to the soft tissue, this technique provides a unique type of reconstructive closure for infected wounds. It is suggested that the staged protocol is reliable in providing successful simultaneous reconstruction for bone and soft tissue defects without flap coverage.

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