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High Success Rate With Exchange Nailing to Treat a Tibial Shaft Aseptic Nonunion

Wu, C. C.; Shih, C. H.; Chen, W. J.; Tai, C. L.

Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma: January 1999 - Volume 13 - Issue 1 - p 33-38
Original Articles
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Objective: To investigate the effects of tibial exchange nailing in treating a tibial shaft aseptic nonunion and to establish optimal indications for using this technique.

Design: Prospective, consecutive.

Setting: University hospital.

Methods: Twenty-five consecutive tibial shaft aseptic nonunions were prospectively treated with the exchange nailing technique. Indications for this procedure were a tibial shaft aseptic nonunion that had previously been treated with an inserted nonreamed or reamed intramedullary nail, displayed less than one centimeter of shortening, was with or without rotational or angular deformity, exhibited no segmental bony defects, and was anatomically suited for conventional or locked reamed intramedullary nail stabilization. The marrow cavity was reamed as extensively as possible, and a rigid intramedullary nail with stable fixation was inserted.

Results: During a follow-up period of two to four years (median thirty-two months), twenty-four nonunions healed, on average, in four months (range three to six months). The one remaining nonunion healed four months after a cancellous bone grafting procedure. No wound infection or malunion was noted.

Conclusion: Because of its high union rate, low complication rate, and simplicity of method, we believe that the exchange nailing technique should be considered preferentially for all indicated cases.

Department of Orthopedics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China

Accepted August 21, 1998.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. C. C. Wu, Department of Orthopedics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, 5 Fu-Hsin Street, 333, Kweishan, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China.

No financial support of this project has occurred. The authors have received nothing of value.

This manuscript does not contain information about medical devices.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.