A comparative evaluation of the efficacy between skeletal traction and skin traction in pre-operative management of femur shaft fractures in Korle Bu Teaching Hospital

  • Daniel Y. D. Agbley University of Health and Allied Sciences, Surgery, Ho Teaching Hospital, Ho
  • Henry A. Holdbrook-Smith Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Korle Bu – Accra.
  • Yao Ahonon Public Health Unit, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Korle Bu, Accra
Keywords: Skin traction; Trans-tibia skeletal; reamed Intramedullary nailing; Intra-operative blood loss; Visual Analogue Scale


Objectives: This study is to compare the outcomes of pre-operative skeletal and skin traction in adult femoral shaft fractures awaiting surgical fixation within two weeks of presentation to the Accident Center of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
Methods: This study was a clinical trial on 86 recruited patients with closed femoral shaft fractures sustained within 24 hours of presentation grouped into 2 groups. Descriptive and inferential statistics comprising frequency, percentage, Chi-square, independent sample t-test and Mann-Whitney U test were used in analysing the data.
Results: Of the total number of patients involved in the study, 74% (n=64) were males and 26% (n=22) were females with a mean age of 39.49 (SD ±15). There was no statistically significant difference in the mean visual analogue scale (VAS) pain assessment between the Skin traction group and Trans-tibia skeletal traction group after traction. With regards to complications, the difference between the Skin traction group and the Skeletal traction group was statistically significant (P=0.001). Moreover, the mean blood loss compared with the open type of reduction in the Transtibia skeletal traction group was significantly less than the Skin traction group (p=0.000).
Conclusion: This study has shown that both Skeletal traction and Skin traction were equally effective in controlling pre-operative pain in adult patients with femoral shaft fractures and does not affect intra-operative blood loss and postoperative management. Therefore, pre-operative Skin traction can be considered a useful and cost-effective method of maintaining alignment and pain relief in adult femoral shaft fractures.
Keywords: Skin traction, Trans-tibia skeletal, reamed Intramedullary nailing, Intra-operative blood loss, Visual Analogue Scale
Funding: Personal Funding


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0016-9560