Intramedullary nailing is the standard of care for tibial shaft fractures. The risk factors for infectious and/or mechanical complications, notably non-union, remain incompletely understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate risk factors for complications, notably non-union.
Active smoking and an initial open wound are independent risk factors for complications.
Materials and methods
We retrospectively included consecutive patients managed for open or closed tibial shaft fractures by primary intramedullary nailing between 2013 and 2018. We collected data on preoperative factors related to the patient and to the mechanism of injury (age, sex, smoking history, energy of the trauma, open wound), on intraoperative factors (residual interfragmentary gap), and on postoperative factors (early or delayed weight-bearing). We evaluated the associations between these factors and the occurrence of complications, notably non-union, by performing a univariate analysis followed by a multivariate analysis.
We included 184 patients [mean age, 38.5±17.6 (range, 15–91), 72.2% of males]. One or more complications developed in 28 (15.2%) patients and non-union occurred in 15 (8.1%) patients. There were three significant risk factors for complications: active smoking (OR, 7.93; 95%CI, 2.76–22.7), a residual interfragmentary gap >5mm (OR, 4.92; 95%CI, 1.72–14.02), and an initial open wound (OR,5.16; 95%CI, 1.62–16.43) (p<0.05). The same three factors were significant risk factors for non-union. Energy of the trauma, age, sex, and early or delayed weight bearing were not significantly associated with an excess risk of complications.
Active smoking, a residual interfragmentary gap >5mm, and an initial open wound are risk factors for postoperative complications after intramedullary nailing to treat a tibial shaft fracture. Preventive strategies and specific information could be implemented for these patients.
Level of evidence
IV; single-centre retrospective cohort study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Tibia, Fracture, Intramedullary nail, Complications, Non-union