To investigate the effects of tibial exchange nailing
in treating a tibial shaft aseptic nonunion
and to establish optimal indications for using this technique.
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.
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.
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.