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Orthopedic trauma surgeon in Sierra Leone: how to keep one's head over water

Florian Wichlas, Serafim Tsitsilonis, Michela Delli Guanti, Gino Strada, Christian Deininger
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 2019 March 25

PURPOSE: Developing a guideline for orthopedic trauma surgeons working in civilian trauma hospitals in low-income countries.

METHODS: This is a retrospective data analysis in a non-governmental organizational trauma hospital in Sierra Leone, Africa. Trauma victims (282), with 349 fractures, were admitted to the hospital 10/2015-01/2016. The incidence of open and closed fractures and the use of implants were evaluated.

RESULTS: The most common fractures were open and closed tibial shaft fractures and closed femoral shaft fractures in adults, and closed supracondylar humerus fractures in children. The most used implants were external fixators, K-wires, and intramedullary nails. External fixators were used for open fractures, K-wires for closed fractures in children, hand and foot, and nails for closed fractures of the lower extremity in adults. Plates were used the least and mostly for fractures of the upper extremity, the proximal tibia and malleolar region in adults. The complication rate was 5.67%.

CONCLUSION: Surgeons in low-income country trauma hospitals should treat conservatively on outpatient basis only, to reduce the amount of stationary patients. Open fractures should be treated with external fixators, and closed fractures in children, hand and foot, with K-wires. Closed fractures in adults of the lower extremity should be nailed, and closed fractures in adults of the upper extremity can be treated with plates.


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