Strategies in Trauma and Limb Reconstruction

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2007 | December | Volume 2 | Issue 2-3

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Original Article

R. J. Hillen, D. Eygendaal

Corrective osteotomy after malunion of mid shaft fractures of the clavicle

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:3] [Pages No:59 - 61]

Keywords: Clavicle/injuries, Fractures, Malunited/complications, Osteotomy/methods

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0024-6  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Displaced mid shaft fractures of the clavicle result in some degree of shortening and rotation. These fractures often heal with some degree of malunion which can be symptomatic. The question arises as to whether surgical correction of the deformity will relieve the symptoms associated with the malunion. Ten patients with a symptomatic malunion of the clavicle were treated by means of a corrective osteotomy with plate and screw fixation. Outcome measurement was a pre and postoperative DASH score, range of motion and patient satisfaction. At follow up after a mean duration of 37 months there was a significant improvement of the DASH score, eight patients were satisfied, and range of motion did not differ significantly. Two patients had a complication resulting from the surgical procedure.


Original Article

R. Aldegheri, G. Taglialavoro, A. Berizzi

The tantalum screw for treating femoral head necrosis: rationale and results

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:6] [Pages No:63 - 68]

Keywords: Femoral head necrosis, Hip, Surgical treatment

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0021-9  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Femoral head necrosis (FHN) is a progressive pathology due to the failure of blood supply to the proximal femoral epiphysis, with consequent necrosis of the sub-chondral bone and collapse of the articular cartilage and loss of congruity between the head and the acetabulum. Borrowing the biological and mechanical principles from the vascularized fibular graft technique for the femoral neck, the tantalum screws have been introduced. They show an extraordinary porosity, osteoconductivity, biocompatibility and very good osteoinductivity. Vitreous tantalum can be processed to take the form of a screw, with a round medial extremity and a 25 mm threaded lateral extremity that can be inserted into the neck of the femur, thereby supporting the articular cartilage, stimulating the repair process, interrupting the interface between necrotic and healthy tissue and favoring local vascularization. We have drawn up a treatment protocol for early-stage FHN, based on the insertion of a tantalum screw into the femoral neck. The implant has a cylindrical shape, with a 10 mm diameter in the smooth part and 15 mm in the threaded part. It is available in different sizes from 70 to 130 mm, with 5 mm increments. The aim of the study is to describe the clinical and instrumental results of the tantalum screw for FHN. From June 2004 to June 2006 we performed 15 implants. The tantalum screw was inserted with an incision on the trochanteric region with traction and under X-ray control. For the clinical evaluation of the hip, we used the Harris hip score (HHS). For diagnosis and staging we used standard X-rays in two views and/or MRI, using the Steinberg classification (J Bone Joint Surg Br 77:34–41, 1995) and CT. In all cases, the osteonecrosis extended to not more than 30% of the joint surface and the cartilage was intact with no collapse. To assess the results, we compared the pre-operative and the post-operative HHS, calculated the percentage differences between the two. We then compared X-rays, CT scans and MRI before and some time after the operation to assess whether the problem had been addressed, taking into account the intracancellous edema and the possible extension of necrosis. After an average follow-up period of 15.43 ± 5.41 months, ten implants (seven patients out of ten) were examined and all but one patient showed a marked improvement in HHS (the average increase was 127.9%), with no further progression of the disease. We believe that this procedure can be suitable for young patients with limited first or second stage osteonecrosis. The objective for the foreseeable future is to resolve the pain, improve the quality of life and prevent or at least postpone arthroplasty.


Original Article

Shaun Brown, Irwin Lasrado, Leo Donnan

Peri-acetabular external fixation for hip disease: an anatomical study

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:7] [Pages No:69 - 75]

Keywords: External fixation, Hip distraction, Anatomy

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0019-3  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Hip distraction using cross joint articulated external fixation has been used by a number of orthopaedic centres for the treatment of osteoarthritis, chrondrolysis, and osteonecrosis, as an alternative to hip arthroplasty or arthrodesis in the adolescent and young adults. The hip, however, is problematic with respect to external fixation, as it lies deep, surrounded by powerful muscles and in intimate contact with major neurovascular structures and intrapelvic organs. The numbers of patients treated by this technique to date remains small and the technical detail and potential complications, with respect to the application of the external fixation, unclear. In this study we used anatomical information from CT scans combined with computer modelling of the hip and pelvis to identify safe screw positions in the periacetabular region. The surgical insertion of the pins was then performed on five cadavers and anatomical dissections undertaken to confirm the structures at risk. This study indicated that whilst there are a number of anatomic constraints, it is still possible to insert three pins with good divergence into the limited bony corridor of the peri-acetabular region recognising that the more posterior of the laterally inserted pins poses a potential risk to the sciatic nerve if not inclined away from the sciatic notch.


Original Article

Manzoor Ahmed Halwai, Shabir A Dhar, Mohammed Iqbal Wani, Mohammed Farooq Butt, Bashir Ahmed Mir, Murtaza Fazal Ali, Imtiyaz Hussain Dar

The dynamic condylar screw in the management of subtrochanteric fractures: does judicious use of biological fixation enhance overall results?

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:5] [Pages No:77 - 81]

Keywords: The dynamic condylar screw, Subtrochanteric fracture, Biological fixation

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0022-8  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Subtrochanteric fractures are fraught with certain anatomic, biologic and biomechanical challenges. Evolution of implants like the Gamma nail, fixed-angle nail plates, compression hip screws and dynamic hip screws with trochanteric stabilization plates underlines a persistent quest for a better implant. We studied the dynamic condylar screw DCS as an implant on a series of 30 consecutive patients with subtrochanteric fractures. Our purpose was to assess this implant as a panacea for subtrochanteric fractures. All cases of AO type A and B were anatomically fixed, whereas type C was biologically plated. The idea was to assess the applicability and adaptability of the DCS. Fractures in 29 cases united, with one patient suffering from an implant failure. There were 17 excellent, 5 good, 5 fair and 3 poor results. The DCS is a definite advance over previous methods of treatment; when combined with the utilization of biological fixation techniques for comminuted fractures, can be relied upon to treat all types of subtrochanteric fractures.


Original Article

George W. Boghdady, Mohammed Shalaby

Safety and reliability of external fixation for basicervical and intertrochanteric fractures in high-risk elderly patients

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:7] [Pages No:83 - 89]

Keywords: Hip fractures, External fixators, Nerve block, Frail elderly

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0025-5  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


Forty elderly patients with basicervical and pertrochanteric fractures were managed with uniplanar AO external fixator under regional anaesthetic block of the femoral nerve and lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh from April 2003 to March 2006. The mean age of the patients was 67.9 ± 5.5 years. External fixator application was performed under radiological control after closed reduction had been obtained. Comorbid factors, duration of surgery, duration of hospitalisation, complications, walking ability, time to union and mortality rate were recorded. Patients were followed up for a mean period of 12 ± 4.5 months. Superficial pin tract infection occurred in 13 patients, healing in varus >10° and with shortening >2 cm occurred in six patients, and one patient suffered a spontaneous ipsilateral femoral neck fracture after removal of the fixator. The mean time for union was 10.4 ± 1.2 weeks. Rapid union rate and minor complications obtained in the present study are comparable to those obtained with standard internal fixation techniques. Minimal intraoperative blood loss, short operative time and early patient mobilisation are advantages signifying uniplanar external fixator application under regional anaesthetic block to be a viable option in treatment of basicervical and pertrochanteric fractures in high-risk elderly patients.


Original Article

Pedro Gutiérrez Carbonell, Jose Valiente Valero, Pedro Doménech Fernández, Javier Roca Vicente-Franqueira

Monolateral external fixation for the progressive correction of neurological spastic knee flexion contracture in children

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:7] [Pages No:91 - 97]

Keywords: Knee flexion, Neurological knee flexion, Distal lengthening hamstrings in knee flexion contracture, External fixator, Gradual correction

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0026-4  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


The purpose of this study was to report the results of the surgical treatment of spastic knee flexion contracture using tenotomy and progressive correction by external fixator–distractor devices. The study design involved a prospective observational study of 16 knees in nine patients with spastic flexion contracture greater than 30°. Treatment was indicated for both ambulatory and nonambulatory patients; and, in the latter group when sitting or personal hygiene was compromised. The average age was 11.6 years (range 10–17). Five of the patients were male and four female. There was one case of hemiplegia (11.1%), two cases of paraplegia (22.2%), and six cases of quadriplegia (66.7%). Six patients retained some walking capacity, while three had none. In all cases, distal lengthening of the hamstrings was carried out. A monolateral fixator with a gradual correction device was applied for a period of 4.8 weeks. The average follow-up was 26.6 months. The preoperative straight-leg raise was 55°. The popliteal angle was 58° preoperatively (range 30–80°), 8.5° on removal of the fixator, and 20° at the end of the follow-up. Complications: There were no superficial or deep infections, and no fractures or distal sensory–motor alterations. There was one case of arthrodiatasis of the knee (6.3%) which was resolved when the fixator was removed, and 11 cases of pin-track infection (68.7%) which were resolved with local care and oral antibiotics. To conclude, spastic knee flexion contracture can be treated gradually with monolateral external fixator with distraction devices, and with distraction modules which prevent acute stretching of the posterior neurovascular structures of the knee.


Original Article

Lei Huang, Liang He, Jie Wei, Manyi Wang

Limb reconstruction surgery in China: an evaluation of its role in the largest developing nation

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:6] [Pages No:99 - 104]

Keywords: External fixation, Ilizarov, Limb reconstruction, China

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0020-x  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


China is the “economic tiger” of the twenty-first century. Its new economic policies have overturned the outlook and futures of many industries in this nation, and parallel to this industrial progress have been strides in medicine. However a country steeped in a history of several millennia does not replace generations of experience nor knowledge in a few decades. The author explores the history of limb reconstruction surgery in this country, setting it in context of a population exposed to both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine.



Selvadurai Nayagam

Safe corridors in external fixation: the lower leg (tibia, fibula, hindfoot and forefoot)

[Year:2007] [Month:December] [Volume:2] [Number:2-3] [Pages:6] [Pages No:105 - 110]

Keywords: External fixators, Tibial fractures, Tibia, Anatomy, Cross-sectional anatomy

   DOI: 10.1007/s11751-007-0023-7  |  Open Access |  How to cite  | 


It is a prerequisite for surgeons using external fixation systems to be familiar with safe corridors for half pin or wire insertion. Several atlases of cross-sectional anatomy are available, mostly in print, to provide guidance [1–3]. This series of articles provides high-quality cross-sectional anatomical images together with guidance in locating safe corridors; the added benefit here is that the information can be downloaded and stored on the surgeon's or in the operating room computer for ease of reference. This review covers the lower leg from knee joint to foot.


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