The Indications and Complications of External Musculoskeletal Fixation in a National Orthopaedic Hospital in Nigeria

  • W Yinusa
  • M F Alimi
  • O H Nwagwu


Objective: To study the indications, complications and outcome of musculoskeletal external fixation at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi-Lagos (NOHL) Patients and Methods: Our study was a 5-year retrospective analysis of the uses and problems of external fixators at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Lagos. Results: There were 71(61.7%) males and 44(38.3%) females with a male to female ratio of 1.6:1. The mean + SD age was 34.4+ 12.9 years (range 14 to 75 years). Uniplanar fixators (AO type) were the commonest, being used mainly as an adjunct in the definitive therapy of open injuries. Open injuries 77 (66.95%) followed by arthrodesis 26 (22.61%) were the commonest indications for the use of external device. The mean duration of application of external device was 10.3 weeks while the average length of hospital stay was 13.7 weeks. There were 8 complications occurring 56 times in 52 patients (48.7%), the commonest being pin tract infection which was seen in 17 (14.8%) patients. Satisfactory results were achieved in 63% (73/115) of cases while open injuries accounted for 79% (33/42) of the unsatisfactory results. Conclusion: We conclude that open injury was the commonest indication for external fixation with pin tract infection being the most common complication. We observe that circular and hybrid external fixation devices are not in common use.

Keywords: External fixator, indications, complications, logistic problems.

Nigerian Journal of Orthopaedics and Trauma Vol. 6 (2) 2007: pp. 70-73

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eISSN: 1596-4582