Reaming Does Not Add Significant Time to Intramedullary Nailing of Diaphyseal Fractures of the Tibia and Femur

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri 65212, USA.
The Journal of trauma (Impact Factor: 2.96). 10/2009; 67(4):727-34. DOI: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31819db55c
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Reamed intramedullary nailing is the current gold standard for the treatment of diaphyseal fractures of the femur and tibia. Current concepts of orthopedic damage control surgery for patients with multiple injuries have placed an emphasis on appropriate surgical timing, limiting blood loss, and the duration of the initial operative procedure(s). Proponents of unreamed nailing have stated that reaming places polytraumatized patients "at risk," in part because it adds to the length of the surgical procedure and may exacerbate the severity of a patient's pulmonary injury. The purpose of this study was to determine how many minutes reaming actually takes and what percentage of operative time reaming comprises during intramedullary nailing of femoral and tibial shaft fractures.
Intraoperative timing data were collected prospectively on a total of 52 patients with 54 fractures (21 femoral and 33 tibial) who underwent reamed intramedullary nailing of acute closed or open femoral or tibial shaft fractures over a 10-month period. Total operating room, surgical, and reaming times were collected.
The average reaming time for femur and tibia fractures was 6.9 minutes and 7 minutes, respectively. On average, reaming accounted for 4.9% of the surgical time and 3.2% of the total operating room time for femur fractures and 4.9% of the surgical time and 3.4% of the total operating room for tibia fractures.
Our results show that reaming comprises a small percentage of the operative time and the total time a patient spends in the operating room.

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    ABSTRACT: Stabilization of fractures with an intramedullary nail is a widespread technique in the treatment of femoral shaft fractures in adults; however, to ream or not to ream is still being debated. The primary objective of this study was to determine clinical results following unreamed versus ream intramedullary nailing of femoral fractures. Between January 2008 and August 2009, 50 patients with femoral shaft fractures were treated with unreamed or reamed femoral nails in our clinic. From this prospective single centre study, 16 patients were excluded due to insufficient follow-up data. According to the AO classification, fractures in this study were either type A or B. Dynamic proximal locking was performed in all cases. The remaining 34 patients were divided into two groups of 17 with ream or unream nailing. During and after the operation, we evaluated some variables in whole series. After statistical analyzes, we found that there were no differences in radiologic union time (P = 1) or full weight bearing time (P = 0.73) between ream and unream nailing. Nail breakage or iatrogenic fractures during nail insertion did not occur and we did not have any fat emboli in both groups but one secondary loss of reduction occurred in the unream group. Superficial infection after the operation was seen in one case which was treated successfully with antibiotics. In the ream group surgical time was about thirty minutes longer and differences were significant (P = 0.000). Patients had to pay more for ream nailing but the difference was not significant. We found no statistical difference between union time with or without reaming; on the other hand, there was significant increased operation length, blood loss and systemic changes in BP or So2 in the ream group versus the unream group. We advocate that unream nailing in traumatic femoral shaft fractures is a simple, safe and effective procedure with significant advantages, especially in multitrauma patients.
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