Background: Distal femoral non-unions are challenging, and frequently associated with short distal fragments, poor bone stock, and with issues from previous implants.
Materials and methods: A retrospective study of 31 patients admitted with distal femoral non-unions treated using anatomical lateral locking plates. Non-union scores were used. The Knee Society and Neer’s scores were used for the comparison of results. The mean follow-up was 39.5 months (from 24 months to 60 months).
Results: Stable union was accomplished in all. There was a significant improvement in the average Neer’s score (24 preoperative to 82 post-operatively at final follow-up), the Part 1 Knee Society score from an average of 46 preoperatively to 84 post-operatively, and Part 2 Knee Society score from 36 preoperatively to 80 post-operatively.
Conclusion: Optimal stability, good compression at the non-union site (either by lag screws or a compression device or both), maintaining the axial alignment strictly, freshening of bone ends, using an adequate amount of cortico-cancellous bone graft, respecting the biology along with the correct choice of the implant (including the size) are essential to achieve union at the fracture site.
Clinical significance: Paying attention to the basic principles of management, good contact, stability and maintaining biology is essential in the treatment of non-union.
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