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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 406-410

Gustilo IIIB open tibial fractures: An analysis of infection and nonunion rates

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, National University Health System, Singapore

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Amritpal Singh
1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block, Level 11
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ortho.IJOrtho_369_16

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Background: Gustilo IIIB tibial fractures are associated with high rates of infection and nonunion. This study evaluates the impact of factors such as patient demographics, mechanism of injury, time to the first debridement, and time to flap coverage on the union and infection rates. Materials and Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients with open tibial fractures who presented to our tertiary trauma center over 13 years from April 2000 to August 2013. All patients were followed for at least 6 months and continued till radiographic evidence of union (maximum 72 months). Time to fracture union was based on radiological evidence of callus bridging at least three cortices. Information on infection rates and the presence of microbes were evaluated. Results: A total of 120 patients were analyzed. The mean time to fracture union was 33.8 weeks. Younger age was associated with a lower risk of nonunion with the mean age being 30.4 years in union group compared to 38.2 in the delayed-union group. Smoking was associated with an increased risk of delayed union with revision surgery being needed in 61.5% of smokers compared to 36.4% in nonsmokers. Rates of infection were high at 30.3%. Smoking was associated with an increased risk of infection (65.4% vs. 24.7%). Conclusion: High-energy open tibia fractures required an average of 8.5 months to heal and delayed or nonunion at an earlier juncture cannot be assumed.

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