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18.08.2017 | Trauma Surgery | Ausgabe 11/2017

Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery 11/2017

Minimally invasive plate augmentation in the treatment of long-bone non-unions

Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery > Ausgabe 11/2017
Ki-Chul Park, Chang-Wug Oh, Joon-Woo Kim, Kyeong-Hyeon Park, Jong-Keon Oh, Il-Hyung Park, Hee-Soo Kyung, Jeong Heo



Exchange nailing is most acceptable for treating hypertrophic non-union of the long bones, requiring the removal of previously fixed implant. However, its main effect of mechanical stabilization is controversial in non-isthmal area. We hypothesized that minimally invasive plate augmentation over the non-union site may have a better option, without the need of bone grafting or removing pre-existing implants.

Materials and methods

Seventeen patients with hypertrophic non-union of the long bones between 2010 and 2014 on radiography who previously underwent intramedullary (IM) nailing or plate osteosynthesis for long-bone fractures were included. A locking compression plate was inserted with at least three mono- or bicortical screws at each proximal and distal segment. Broken or loosened interlocking screws of IM nail were simultaneously re-fixed. Fracture site exposure, pre-fixed implant removal, and bone grafting were not performed. We investigated whether union occurred and analyzed functional outcomes and complications.


Eleven femoral and six tibial non-unions were prospectively included. In the pre-existing implants, 13 nails and 4 plates were found. All cases achieved union at a mean 22.7 weeks. One case of superficial infection was managed with oral antibiotics. Deep infection or implant failure did not occur.


Minimally invasive plate augmentation can achieve additional stability and promote healing of hypertrophic non-union of the long bones. When indicated, this technique is the least invasive alternative to exchange nailing and reduces surgical risks in the treatment of diaphyseal non-union.

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