Babhulkar, Sudhir PHD (ORTH), DSC ORTH; Pande, Ketan MCH (ORTH); Babhulkar, Sushrut MCH (ORTH)
The treatment of diaphyseal nonunion of long bones is difficult and controversial. We retrospectively reviewed 113 patients with diaphyseal nonunion treated by various modalities, during 15 years at one institution. There were 36 cases of nonunion of the tibia, 23 nonunions of the femur, 21 nonunions of the humerus, 13 nonunions of the radius, 18 nonunions of the ulna and two nonunions of the clavicle. The minimum followup was 24 months (average, 40 months, range 2-15 years). The nonunions were classified as aseptic (84) and septic (29) and additionally classified as hypertrophic (61) and atrophic (52) in order to determine the treatment. The treatment was individualized based on the stability at the nonunion site, need for bone grafting, and control of infection. All fractures healed and every patient in the study regained functional use of the limb without pain or instability and functional range of movements that they had at the time of presentation with nonunion. Residual problems seen in some patients were joint stiffness, limb length discrepancy, and angular deformity. Twenty-six patients required repeat surgery using bone grafting because no satisfactory progress of fracture healing was seen in 4 months. Complications were related to the iliac crest donor site and persistent infection at the nonunion site.
Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. (431):50-56, February 2005.