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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 13-17

The use of locked plate as a definitive fixation for open supracondylar fracture of the femur with partial bone loss in polytraumatized patients

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Mootaz F Thakeb
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, 66 Abul Attaheya Street, Abbas Akkad Extension, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/eoj.eoj_9_17

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Background Open supracondylar fractures of the femur are complex injuries usually presenting in a polytraumatized patient. Partial circumferential bone loss may result at the time of injury or during debridement. The way in which the fracture is treated has a substantial influence on the local mechanical and biological environment, which in turn will influence the quantity and quality of the osteogenic response. Although early skeletal stabilization can stop the cycle of injury, remove nidus for infection, and halt ongoing hemorrhage, it may be prudent to delay definitive surgery until the patient’s general condition is optimized. Meanwhile, debridement and a preliminary spanning external fixator is used to stabilize the fracture. The use of a locked plate for the fixation of supracondylar fracture of the femur with partial bone loss creates a rigid biomechanical environment needed for healing and maintenance of alignment until fracture healing. Patients and methods Eighteen patients with open supracondylar fracture of the femur were treated between January 2009 and June 2011. All patients were treated surgically within the first 24 h. Radical soft tissue and bone debridement was performed. Thirteen patients underwent definitive fracture fixation using a laterally placed locked distal femur plate. Five patients had their fractures primarily stabilized by an external fixator until improvement of their general condition. Results Bone healing was obvious on follow-up radiographs in 10 patients without the need for supplementary surgical procedures at a mean of 16 (12–20) weeks. Seven patients with no progressive radiologic healing by 20 weeks’ follow-up underwent an iliac crest cancellous bone graft; healing was then realized radiologically after a mean of 12 (8–18) weeks. Using the IOWA knee functional score for final patient assessment, we found excellent results in 14 patients, good results in three patients, and fair results in one patient. Conclusion Generally stable polytraumatized patients should be treated with thorough initial debridement, local antibiotics, and early definitive fracture fixation using a locked distal femur plate. Critically unstable patients with hemorrhagic shock are to be treated with damage control until improvement in their general condition. Bone graft is to be delayed for 20 weeks as many fractures would successfully heal by that time, even with partial bone loss.

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