Annals of African Medicine

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Role of inappropriate bone splintage in limb amputation in Maiduguri, Nigeria

RH Umaru, BM Gali, N Ali


Background: University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital a major referable Centre in Northeastern Nigeria over the years has been faced with management of complications of limb injuries arising from treatment of limb fractures and injuries by the traditional bone setters (TBS). This study is therefore aimed at determining the role of inappropriate traditional splintage in limb amputation and proffer interventional strategies to curb the menace.

Methods: A retrospective study of data of patients that had amputation in University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital between 1998 and 2002 was undertaken.

Results: A total number of 82 patients were entered into the study; there were 66 males and 16 Females (M.F ratio 4:1). Their ages ranged between 2 – 80 years with a median of 27 years. Seventy three percent of our patients were below the age of 45 years. The most common indication for limb amputation was gangrene arising from treatment of limb injuries by TBS 31.7%, followed by trauma 24.3% and malignancies 14.6%. Majority of the amputations were in the lower limbs and 35%of the patients had 2 – Stage operation.

Conclusion: Preventable severe complications often arise from TBS treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. There is need for sustained health education to discourage patronage of TBS and encourage utilization of modern health service. Basic training for TBS in safe splintage and early identification of signs of ischaemia may not be out of place.
Key Words: Limb amputation, inappropriate traditional splintage
Annals of African Medicine Vol.3(3) 2004: 138-140

AJOL African Journals Online