Flexible intramedullary nails with traction versus plaster cast for treating femoral shaft fractures in children: Comparative retrospective study

São Paulo medical journal = Revista paulista de medicina (Impact Factor: 0.72). 03/2013; 131(1):5-12. DOI: 10.1590/S1516-31802013000100002
Source: PubMed


CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE Femoral fractures are common in children between 2 and 12 years of age, and 75% of the lesions affect the femoral shaft. Traction followed by a plaster cast is universally accepted as conservative treatment. However, in some situations, a surgical approach is recommended. The objective here was to compare treatments for femoral shaft fractures using intramedullary nails (titanium elastic nails, TEN) versus traction and plaster casts in children. The hypothesis was that TEN might provide better treatment, with good clinical results in comparison with plaster casts. DESIGN AND SETTING This retrospective comparative study was conducted in a public university hospital. METHODS Sixty children with femoral fractures were evaluated; 30 of them underwent surgical treatment with TEN and 30 were treated conservatively using plaster casts. The patients' ages ranged from 5 to 13 years (mean of 9 years). RESULTS The mean duration of hospitalization was nine days for the surgical group and 20 days for the conservative group. The incidence of overgrowth in the patients treated with TEN was 60.0% and, for those treated conservatively, 13.3%. Partial weight-bearing was allowed after 3.5 weeks in the surgical group and after 9.6 weeks in the conservative group. New hospitalization was required for 90.0% in the surgical group and 16.7% in the conservative group. Patients treated with plaster casts presented higher incidence of complications, such as loss of reduction. CONCLUSIONS The surgical method presented better results for children.

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    ABSTRACT: The conservative treatment of pediatric femoral fractures can be socially and financially burdensome for patients and families due to the long period of immobilization. New operative techniques have consistently gained significance in the treatment of such fractures due to a shorter period of immobilization. Elastic stable intramedullary nailing (ESIN) in particular has been proven to lead to better outcome in comparison to conservative treatment. This article presents the first study that compares the outcome of three versus two ESINs in the treatment of pediatric femoral shaft fractures. A retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent operative treatment of femoral fractures with ESINs in our hospital from 2009-2012 was carried out. A follow-up examination was performed in mid-2013 by standardized evaluation of leg length discrepancy and the movement capacity of the hip and knee joint. The follow-up examination revealed a leg length discrepancy of the injured leg when three ESINs were used (p = 0.013) and an impairment of the movement capacity in the hip joint of the injured leg (p = 0.029). In addition the surgery time for metal removal of three ESINs was higher (p = 0.046). All other evaluated parameters did not show any differences. In this study population the treatment of pediatric femoral shaft fractures with three ESINs showed no benefit in comparison to two ESINs and therefore should not be used to treat femoral fractures. The leg length discrepancy using three ESINs may be explained by a nonsymmetrical distribution of support points leading to an increased micromovement of the bone with increased callus formation.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Der Unfallchirurg