01.06.2014 | Trauma Surgery | Ausgabe 6/2014
Ilizarov external fixation or locked intramedullary nailing in diaphyseal tibial fractures: a randomized, prospective study of 58 consecutive patients
Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
- Telmo Ramos, Bengt I. Eriksson, Jón Karlsson, Lars Nistor
The aim of this study was to compare the Ilizarov circular fixator (IL) and locked intramedullary nailing (IM).
Patients and methods
Patients with isolated tibia shaft fractures were randomly allocated to either the IL (n = 31) or IM (n = 27) method. Conventional radiographs, postoperative pain assessment, self-appraisal scores and complications were evaluated. At the clinical 1-year follow-up, the patients were also evaluated by an independent observer.
The minority of patients had open fractures, two and nine patients in the IM and IL groups, respectively. Eight patients in the IM group and four in the IL group sustained major complications (p = 0.107). In the IM group, two patients developed compartment syndrome, one deep infection, one hardware failure, one delayed union, one pseudarthrosis and two had a malunion. In the IL group, two patients developed pseudarthrosis and two had a malunion. Superficial pin-site infections were observed in 16 patients in the IL group. The fractures had healed radiographically at 12 weeks in both groups. At the 1-year follow-up, there were differences in pain (VAS) and satisfaction (VAS) scores in favor of IL treatment (VAS, p = 0.03 and p = 0.02, respectively). There were no differences between the groups with regard to range of motion (ROM) in the knee and ankle joints. The registration of local tenderness and pain revealed that there were 19 patients with anterior knee pain in the IM group and one in the IL group at the 1-year follow-up (p < 0.001).
The IL is a safe and reliable alternative to IM for the treatment of tibial shaft fractures, with a low complication rate and good clinical outcome. Both treatments were well tolerated, but at the 1-year follow-up the patients in the IM group had more pain and were less satisfied. Finally, there was a high frequency of anterior knee pain in the IM group.