Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction

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2022 | January-April | Volume 17 | Issue 1

Original Article

Simran Grewal, Thomas PA Baltes, Esther Wiegerinck, Peter Kloen

Treatment of a Recalcitrant Non-union of the Clavicle

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:6] [Pages No:1 - 6]

Keywords: Clavicle, Plate fixation, Recalcitrant non-union

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1544  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Background: Plate fixation is the treatment of choice for a midshaft clavicle non-union. Those non-unions that require >1 surgical procedure to heal are termed recalcitrant non-union. Regardless of the number of previously failed procedures, our surgical strategy is aimed at achieving an optimal mechanical and biological environment to facilitate healing. Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 14 patients with a recalcitrant clavicle non-union treated with open reduction and plate fixation combined with graft augmentation when indicated. Healing rates after index surgery were analysed. All patients were observed for at least 12 months. Results: All patients healed at a mean time of 193.2 days (range 90–390). Five of the 14 patients had at least one positive surprise culture, for which they received antibiotic treatment. At the latest follow-up, no patient reported pain or discomfort. Mean disability of the arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) score was 16.3 points (range 0–40), indicating only mild residual impairment. A possible link was found between the time between injury and definitive surgery and the time to healing [Pearson correlation 0.527, sig. (two-tailed) 0.000]. Conclusion: This study shows 100% bone healing and good functional outcomes after surgical revision for a recalcitrant clavicle non-union.

Original Article

Efstratios D Athanaselis, Georgios Komnos, Dimitrios Deligeorgis, Michael Hantes, Theofilos Karachalios, Konstantinos N Malizos, Sokratis Varitimidis

Double Plating in Type C Distal Humerus Fractures: Current Treatment Options and Factors that Affect the Outcome

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:7] [Pages No:7 - 13]

Keywords: Distal humeral fractures, Double plating technique, Heterotopic ossification, Olecranon osteotomy, Tension band osteosynthesis, Two-column theory, Ulnar nerve management

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1546  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Purpose: This is a retrospective cohort study of type C distal humeral fractures (AO classification system) aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of current operative treatment options. Materials and methods: Thirty-seven patients with type C distal humeral fractures, treated operatively from January 2002 to September 2016, were retrospectively studied. Thirty-two were eligible for inclusion. Patients were treated by open reduction using the posterior approach, olecranon osteotomy and parallel-plate two-column internal fixation. Patients were evaluated for fracture healing, functional outcomes and complications (infection, ulnar neuropathy, heterotopic ossification and need for implant removal). Restoration of the normal anatomy was defined by measuring carrying angle, posterior angulation and intercondylar distance of distal humerus. Results: The mean follow-up time was 8.7 years [range 2–15.5 years, standard deviation (SD) = 3.96]. Mean time to fracture union was 8 weeks for 29 patients (90.6%) (range, 6–10 weeks). In nine cases, there was malunion of varied importance (28.1%). There was one case with postoperative ulnar neuropathy and one case with deep infection. The mean Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (DASH) score and mean Mayo Elbow Performance Score (MEPS) were 20 (range 0–49) and 83.3 (range 25–100), respectively. Conclusion: In complex distal humerus fractures, the posterior approach with olecranon osteotomy and parallel plating of two columns, after anatomic reconstruction of the articular segment, is a prerequisite for successful elbow function.

Original Article

Ahmed A Elsheikh, Jonathan Wright, Michael T Stoddart, David Goodier, Peter Calder

Use of the Pixel Value Ratio Following Intramedullary Limb Lengthening: Uncomplicated Full Weight-bearing at Lower Threshold Values

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:5] [Pages No:14 - 18]

Keywords: Intramedullary lengthening, Intramedullary limb-lengthening system, Pixel value ratio, Regenerate, Weight-bearing

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1542  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Aims: The pixel value ratio (PVR) can be used to assess regenerate consolidation after lengthening and guide advice for full weight-bearing (FWB). This study aimed to analyse the PVR in adults having femoral lengthening, the time to FWB and compare findings with the reported values in the literature. Materials and methods: A retrospective database review identified 100 eligible patients who underwent lengthening using the PRECICE nail (68 antegrade and 32 retrograde). The PVR was calculated in each cortex on plain radiographs at every visit. The ratio between the regenerate and an average from the adjacent normal bone was calculated and plotted against the clinical decision to allow FWB. Results: Eighty-seven patients (58 men and 29 women) were assessed; eleven had bilateral lengthening and two patients underwent lengthening twice. The median age was 30.5 years. The underlying cause of shortening was post-traumatic in 46%, with the remaining due to a wide variety of causes, including congenital 16%, syndromic 12% and other causes. The median lengthening achieved was 45 mm, at a median of 57.5 days. The PVR increased with each visit (p <0.0001). FWB was allowed at a median of 42 days after the last day of lengthening, with PVR values of 0.83, 0.84, 0.93 and 0.84 for the anterior, posterior, medial and lateral cortex noted, respectively (average 0.85). There were no implant failures, shortening or regenerate fractures. No differences were detected between antegrade and retrograde nails or with lengthening greater or less than 45 mm. One surgeon allowed earlier FWB at median 31 days with no nail failures. Conclusion: PVR is a valuable tool that quantifies regenerate maturity and provides objectivity in deciding when to allow FWB after intramedullary lengthening with the PRECICE nail. FWB was permitted at an earlier time point, corresponding with lower PVR values than have been reported in the literature and with no mechanical failure or regenerate deformation.

Original Article

Jaap J Tolk, Rajiv Merchant, Peter R Calder, Aresh Hashemi-Nejad, Deborah M Eastwood

Tension-band Plating for Leg-length Discrepancy Correction

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:7] [Pages No:19 - 25]

Keywords: Epiphysiodesis, Guided growth, Leg-length discrepancy, Tension-band plating

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1547  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Aim: Dual tension-band plates are used for temporary epiphysiodesis and longitudinal guided growth. The study aim was to assess rate of correction, to identify development of femoral and tibial intra-articular deformity during correction and to document resumption of growth after plate removal. Materials and methods: A retrospective study of 34 consecutive patients treated with dual tension-band plates between 2012 and 2020 was performed. Twenty-four patients had surgery at the distal femur, six at the proximal tibia and four at both. Twenty-five female patients were treated at a mean age of 11.6 (±1.4) years and nine male patients at 13.5 (±1.5) years. Measurements were performed on standardised long-leg radiographs and included leg-length discrepancy (LLD), joint line congruency angle (JLCA), tibial roof angle, femoral floor angle and notch-intercondylar distance. Measurements were taken pre-operatively, at the end of discrepancy correction and at skeletal maturity. Results: The LLD reduced by a mean of 12.9 mm (95% CI 10.2–15.5) with the mean residual difference 8.4 mm (95% CI 5.4–11.4). The mean correction rate for the proximal tibia was 0.40 (SD 0.33) mm/month and 0.68 (SD 0.36) mm/month for the distal femur. A significant mean change in residual LLD [−2.5 mm (95% CI −4.2 to −0.7)] was observed between plate removal and skeletal maturity at the femoral level only. After length discrepancy correction, the tibial roof angle showed a significant difference of 8.4° (95% CI 13.4–3.4) between legs. In femoral epiphysiodesis patients, no important differences were observed. Conclusion: A significant reduction in LLD can be achieved using dual tension-band plating. A change in intra-articular morphology was observed only in the proximal tibia and not in the distal femur. In the authors’ opinion, tension-band plating is a useful tool for leg-length equalisation but should be reserved for younger patients or when residual growth is difficult to predict. It is one of the management strategies for limb-length difference prior to skeletal maturity.

Original Article

Peter M. Stevens, Matias Desperes, Philip K McClure, Angela Presson, Jennifer Herrick

Growth Deceleration for Limb Length Discrepancy: Tension Band Plates Followed to Maturity

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:6] [Pages No:26 - 31]

Keywords: Anisomelia, Epiphysiodesis, Limb length inequality, Tension band plating

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1548  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Objective: There are several alternative methods for accomplishing epiphysiodesis of the longer limb to address limb length discrepancy (LLD). Consensus is lacking regarding the optimal timing of the intervention and which method is most efficacious. We reviewed a large group of patients with anisomelia treated by tethering with tension band plates (TBP) and who had attained skeletal maturity. We discuss our preferred timing and technique while noting the complications and how they were managed. Materials and methods: With IRB approval, we reviewed 66 subjects including 32 boys and 34 girls, ranging in age from 3 to 16.6 years at the time of physeal tethering, who were destined to have between 2 and 9 cm LLD at maturity. Inclusion criteria were: (1) at least 1 year of predicted growth at the time of tethering; (2) minimum 18-month follow-up and (3) minimum Risser stage 1 (R1) in the last radiologic study. There were 35 distal femoral, 25 pan genu and five proximal tibial procedures. Patients were seen bi-annually with weight-bearing full-length radiographs to ascertain neutral alignment and assess limb lengths. Results: We defined a successful outcome to be <1.5 cm of residual discrepancy. Iatrogenic mechanical axis deviation, observed in nine patients (five varus and four valgus), was successfully managed by repositioning the implants. While the under-corrected patients presented too late to achieve equalization, they benefited from partial improvement. Due to lack of timely follow-up, one patient over-corrected by 2 cm and had a femoral shortening at the time of correcting contralateral femoral anteversion. One patient required a distal femoral osteotomy to correct recurvatum at maturity. Conclusion: Properly timed and executed, TBP is an efficacious and reversible means of growth deceleration, rather than growth arrest, that may be applied in a wide age range of patients with modest anisomelia regardless of aetiology. This method offers potential advantages over purportedly rapid and definitive techniques such as percutaneous epiphysiodesis (PE) or percutaneous epiphysiodesis with transphyseal screws (PETS). Level of evidence: Level III. Retrospective series without controls.

Original Article

Pieter H Mare, Leonard C Marais

Gradual Deformity Correction with a Computer-assisted Hexapod External Fixator in Blount's Disease

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:6] [Pages No:32 - 37]

Keywords: Blount's disease, External fixation, Gradual correction, Hexapod, Tibia Vara, Tibial osteotomy

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1549  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Aim: To evaluate the results in terms of correction and complications from gradual correction with a computer-assisted hexapod circular external fixator in a mixed cohort of children with Blount's disease. Materials and methods: A retrospective review was performed of the correction and complications of 19 children (25 limbs) with recurrent infantile (IBD) and late-onset Blount's disease (LOBD) treated by gradual correction with a hexapod external fixator. The correction was measured by the medial proximal tibial angle (MPTA), anatomic posterior proximal tibial angle (aPPTA) and anatomic tibio-femoral angle (TFA). Obesity was present in 76% (19/25) of cases. Fifteen limbs were classified as infantile Blount's disease and 10 limbs as late-onset Blount's disease. The mean age was 12.5 years (range 7–17 years). Results: The mean pre-operative MPTA of 59° (SD 13°, range 33–79°) was corrected to a mean of 86° (SD 5°, range 77–93°). The mean pre-operative aPPTA of 64° (SD 14°, range 33–84°) was corrected to 79° (SD 6°, range 70–90°). The median pre-operative rotation of 15° internal rotation was corrected to normal (0–15° of external rotation). Eight out of 25 limbs had severe deformities with varus or procurvatum greater than 40° or both. The mean pre-operative TFA of 28° varus (SD 13°, range 4–53°) was corrected to 1.8° valgus (SD 6°, range 14° varus to 13° valgus). The median follow-up was 19 months (range 6–67 months). The alignment after correction was “good” in 55% (11/20), “acceptable” in 35% (7/20) and “poor” in 10% (2/20). The median duration for correction was 16 days (IQR 11–31 days, range 7–71 days). The median number of prescribed correction programmes was 1 (IQR 1–2, range 1–5). The mean total time in the frame was 136 days (SD 34 days, range 85–201 days). All patients developed minor pin track infections that resolved with oral antibiotics (Category 1 complications). Four patients developed complications that necessitated modification of the treatment plan (Category 2 complications). In two cases, treatment objectives could not be achieved (Category 3 complications). Two patients treated before skeletal maturity developed recurrent genu varum. Conclusion: Gradual correction with a computer-assisted hexapod external fixator may be a useful technique for correcting recurrent IBD or LOBD even in children with severe deformities. The results of gradual correction were similar in the two groups. While complications occur, most can be mitigated by timely intervention during the correction phase of treatment. Recurrence remains a concern if correction is performed before skeletal maturity. Level of evidence: 4.

Original Article

Asim Makhdom, Amber A Hamilton, S Robert Rozbruch

The Role of Prophylactic Peroneal Nerve Decompression in Patients with Severe Valgus Deformity at the Time of Primary Total Knee Arthroplasty

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:6] [Pages No:38 - 43]

Keywords: Foot drop, Knee arthroplasty, Knee replacement, Peroneal palsy, Valgus knee

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1545  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Background: Common peroneal nerve (PN) palsy after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is a serious complication. Although many authors suggest delayed or immediate PN decompression after TKA in these patients, little is known about the role of prophylactic peroneal nerve decompression (PPND) at the time of TKA. The aim is to report the results of PPND in high-risk patients at the time of TKA. Materials and methods: A multi-institutional retrospective study review of nine patients (10 knees) who underwent PPND at the time of TKA was conducted. Patients who had severe valgus deformities (≥15° of femorotibial angle and not fully correctable by examination under anaesthesia) with or without flexion contractures were included. PPND was performed through a separate 3–4-cm incision at the time of TKA. The demographics, preoperative and postoperative anatomical and mechanical alignments, range of motion, operation time, postoperative neurological function and complications were recorded. Results: All patients had a completely normal motor and sensory neurological function postoperatively and no complications related to PPND were reported. All patients followed the standard physical therapy protocol after TKA without modifications. The mean preoperative femorotibial angle was 20° (range 15–33°) and the mean postoperative femorotibial angle was 6.3° (range 5–9°) (p = 0.005). The mean preoperative flexion contracture was 9 (range 0–20) and the mean residual contracture was 1.2° (range 2–5°) (p = 0.006). Conclusion: PPND at the time of TKA is an option to minimise the risk of PN palsy in high-risk patients. This approach can be considered for patients undergoing TKA in selected high-risk patients with a severe valgus deformity.


Konstantins Plotnikovs, Jevgenijs Movcans, Leonid Solomin

Acute Shortening for Open Tibial Fractures with Bone and Soft Tissue Defects: Systematic Review of Literature

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:11] [Pages No:44 - 54]

Keywords: Acute shortening, Angulation and rotation, External fixation, Ilizarov method, Open fracture, Soft tissue defect closure

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1551  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Introduction: The presence of massive soft tissue loss in open tibial fractures is a challenging problem. Acute limb shortening is an alternative solution in situations where the use of flaps is limited. Materials and methods: A review was conducted following the Preferred Reported Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses checklist (PRISMA) guidelines. A complete search of PubMed, EMBASE and MEDLINE was undertaken. Twenty-four articles related to closure of soft tissue defects through acute limb shortening were identified and included in this review. Results: All report on restoration of limb function without or with minimal residual shortening. The authors note a decrease in the need for microsurgery. The external fixation devices used for deformity correction after closure of the soft tissue defect by acute shortening, angulation and rotation were the Ilizarov apparatus and circular fixator hexapods mainly. Conclusion: Acute shortening is an alternative to microsurgical techniques. A ring external fixator is useful for restoring limb alignment after closing the soft tissue defect through creating a temporary deformity. The use of circular fixator hexapods can enable accurate correction of complex multicomponent deformities without the need to reassembly of individual correction units.


Charlotte MB Somerville, Helena Hanschell, Mehdi Tofighi, Om Lahoti

A Novel Surgical Technique for Extraction of a Firmly Integrated Broken Intramedullary Nail

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:4] [Pages No:55 - 58]

Keywords: Broken intramedullary nail, Intramedullary nail removal, Limb reconstruction, Revision surgery, Technique, Trauma surgery

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1550  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Aim: To present a novel technique developed in our institution to remove incarcerated and broken intramedullary (IM) tibial and femoral nails. Background: IM nails are commonly used to treat diaphyseal fractures in both the tibia and femur. These nails can become problematic for the orthopaedic surgeon when they need to be removed, especially in the rare event that the nail has failed and broken. This can leave part of the nail deep in the bone and incarcerated. Multiple techniques have been described to remove a broken nail but we present a novel technique developed based on our experience. Technique: After all other methods to remove the broken nail have failed, a window technique can be employed. This requires a small window of bone to be removed from the cortex overlying the remaining IM nail. A carbide drill is then used to drill a hole into the nail to gain purchase. The edge of an osteotome is placed in the hole in the nail through the window and gently hammered upwards to push the nail towards the over-reamed nail entry point. The nail is repeatedly drilled and pushed until the nail can be removed. The bone window is then replaced. Conclusion: This is a novel technique that works when all other options including hooks, wire stacks and specialist nail removal techniques have failed. It is simple, efficient and effective for both the tibial and femoral nails.


Diego Alonso-Tejero, Gonzalo Luengo-Alonso, Verónica Jiménez-Díaz, Lorena García-Lamas, Miguel Angel Porras-Moreno, David Cecilia-López

Chronic Isolated Dorsal Dislocation of the Lunate. A Rare Presentation of Carpal Instability

[Year:2022] [Month:January-April] [Volume:17] [Number:1] [Pages:4] [Pages No:59 - 62]

Keywords: Arthrodesis, Chronic, Dislocation, Dorsal, Lunate

   DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1543  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Isolated dorsal lunate dislocation is a rare injury. Only one case has been reported previously in which the treatment was performed in the chronic stage. In this report, we present the case of a 49-year-old handworker male who presented a dorsal dislocation of the lunate after a traffic accident. He was referred to our clinic 2.5 months later due to an initial misdiagnosis. Surgical treatment was performed and consisted of an open reduction using a nerve-sparing dorsal approach. A complete rupture of the perilunate ligaments and a marked instability of the lunate were detected. Stabilisation of the scapholunate, lunotriquetral and scaphocapitate spaces with a compression screw and Kirschner wires, respectively, was performed. The persistence of pain and functional limitation after the surgery along with an insufficient reduction of the scapholunate space on the X-ray and the development of a fistula on the ulnar edge of the carpus prompted reintervention. A hardware-free total wrist arthrodesis was preferred over other procedures, such as proximal row carpectomy, owing to the important articular damage. At the 3-month follow-up, he was clinically stable, consolidation of arthrodesis was documented and he had returned to his previous activities. Isolated dorsal dislocation of the lunate is a rare lesion. There is no consensus on the management of isolated chronic dislocations of the lunate. The frequent delay in the diagnosis compromises the final outcome of reconstructive techniques and introduces the risk of residual instability, increasing the incidence of chronic pain associated with post-traumatic osteoarthritis. In the case of chronic lesions, treatment with palliative techniques, such as proximal carpectomy or joint arthrodesis, should be considered.

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