Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Clinical Outcomes after Open Locked Intramedullary Nailing of Closed Femoral Shaft Fractures for Adult Patients in a Nigerian Hospital

ON Salawu, GH Ibraheem, OM Babalola, DM Kadir, BA Ahmed, SB Agaja, A Olawepo, AA Nasir


Background: Femoral shaft fractures are common injuries in adults. Closed locked intramedullary nailing is the recommended treatment for femoral shaft fractures due to its high union rate. Objective: The objective of this study is to determine the outcome of management of closed femoral shaft fractures in adult patients, using open locked intramedullary nailing. Patients and Methods: This is a prospective study which was carried out on all adult patients aged 16 years and above who presented within 2 weeks of sustaining closed femoral shaft fractures to the accident and emergency unit of a University Teaching Hospital in Nigeria from January 2013 to December 2013. Pathological fractures were excluded from the study. The procedure was carried out using standard techniques, and each patient was followed up for a minimum of 1 year. Results: Forty‑three patients were recruited into the study. They had a mean age of 36.9 ± 11.7 years, with a male to female ratio of 2.9:1. The most common cause of closed femoral shaft fractures was road traffic crashes (95.3%), with motorcycle‑related injuries found to be the highest type (56.1%). The rate of union in the study was 95.3%. The average time to radiological union was 14.0 ± 1.2 weeks while the mean time to painless full weight bearing was 14.2 ± 1.2 weeks. Among the complications encountered were broken nails (4.7%), infection, loosening of the distal screw, and limb length discrepancy (2.3% each). Using Thoresen’s criteria, excellent results were obtained in 93% and poor results in 4.7% of patients. Conclusion: Open locked intramedullary nailing gives excellent clinical outcomes with high union and low complication rates in the management of closed femoral shaft fractures in adult patients.

Keywords: Clinical union, femoral shaft fracture, open locked intramedullary nail, radiological union, Thoresen’s criteria
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