To assess the outcomes of patients who sustained blunt trauma tibia fractures compared with tibia fractures from civilian gunshot injuries when treated with intramedullary fixation.
Retrospective chart review.
Level I trauma center.
Two hundred and seven patients underwent intramedullary nailing for 211 tibia fractures.
A retrospective review of tibia fracture(s) treated with intramedullary fixation with comparison of closed, open, and gunshot wound (GSW) fracture outcomes.
Main Outcome Measurements:
Outcomes included infection and nonunion.
The infection rate in closed and GSW tibia fractures was significantly lower compared with the infection rate of open fractures (1% vs. 9% vs. 20%; P = 0.00005). Significantly lower rates of nonunion in closed fractures compared with open fractures and GSW fractures were appreciated (8% vs. 20% vs. 30%; P = 0.003). There was no difference in infection or nonunion between GSW fractures with small wounds, no exposed bone, and minimal comminution and closed injuries (P = 0.24, P = 0.60). Conversely, there was a significantly higher nonunion rate in GSW fractures with large wounds, exposed tibia, and comminution compared with blunt injuries (P = 0.0014).
This study suggests that tibia fractures from civilian GSWs are heterogeneous injuries, and outcomes are dependent on the extent of soft-tissue injury, bone exposure, and bone loss. There are comparable infection rates in all fractures due to civilian GSWs and closed fractures, which are lower than high-grade open fractures. Tibia GSW fractures with exposed bone and comminution have higher complication rates and should be treated accordingly.
Level of Evidence:
Prognostic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.