Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction

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VOLUME 13 , ISSUE 3 ( November, 2018 ) > List of Articles


Uniting the un-united: should established non-unions of femoral shaft fractures initially treated with IM nails be treated by plate augmentation instead of exchange IM nailing? A systematic review

Gareth Medlock, Iain M. Stevenson, Alan J. Johnstone

Keywords : Femoral non-union, Femoral fracture, Intramedullary nailing, Adjunctive plating

Citation Information : Medlock G, Stevenson IM, Johnstone AJ. Uniting the un-united: should established non-unions of femoral shaft fractures initially treated with IM nails be treated by plate augmentation instead of exchange IM nailing? A systematic review. 2018; 13 (3):119-128.

DOI: 10.1007/s11751-018-0323-0

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 01-06-2016

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2018; The Author(s).


The majority of femoral fractures are surgically treated with intramedullary nails. Non-union rate is low but challenging and costly if it occurs. There have been encouraging results from the use of augmentative plating as a treatment for non-union of femoral fractures. We performed a systematic review of the literature to compare union rates, time to union and complications between exchange nailing and augmentative plating as a primary procedure following a diagnosis of femoral non-union following initial nailing. We found a total of 21 papers, which found the mean union rate of augmentative plating to be 99.8% compared to 74% (P = 2.05−12) found for exchange nailing. Times to union were comparable at 5.9 months for augmentative plating and 6.3 months for exchange nailing (P = 0.68916), and complication rate was 4% for augmentative plating compared to 20% for exchange nailing. From the evidence available, plate augmentation provides a more reliable union rate if used as the first operative intervention on a non-union of a femoral fracture compared to exchange nailing. Level of Evidence IV Systematic review of therapeutic studies.

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