Management of open tibial diaphyseal fractures with bone loss is a matter of debate. The treatment options range from external fixators, nailing, ring fixators or grafting with or without plastic reconstruction. All the procedures have their own set of complications, like acute docking problems, shortening, difficulty in soft tissue management, chronic infection, increased morbidity, multiple surgeries, longer hospital stay, mal union, nonunion and higher patient dissatisfaction. We evaluated the outcome of the limb reconstruction system (LRS) in the treatment of open fractures of tibial diaphysis with bone loss as a definative mode of treatment to achieve union, as well as limb lengthening, simultaneously.
Materials and Methods:
Thirty open fractures of tibial diaphysis with bone loss of at least 4 cm or more with a mean age 32.5 years were treated by using the LRS after debridement. Distraction osteogenesis at rate of 1 mm/day was done away from the fracture site to maintain the limb length. On the approximation of fracture ends, the dynamized LRS was left for further 15-20 weeks and patient was mobilized with weight bearing to achieve union. Functional assessment was done by Association for the Study and Application of the Methods of Illizarov (ASAMI) criteria.
Mean followup period was 15 months. The mean bone loss was 5.5 cm (range 4-9 cm). The mean duration of bone transport was 13 weeks (range 8-30 weeks) with a mean time for LRS in place was 44 weeks (range 24-51 weeks). The mean implant index was 56.4 days/cm. Mean union time was 52 weeks (range 31-60 weeks) with mean union index of 74.5 days/cm. Bony results as per the ASAMI scoring were excellent in 76% (19/25), good in 12% (3/25) and fair in 4% (1/25) with union in all except 2 patients, which showed poor results (8%) with only 2 patients having leg length discrepancy more than 2.5 cm. Functional results were excellent in 84% (21/25), good in 8% (2/25), fair in 8% (2/25). Pin tract infection was seen in 5 cases, out of which 4 being superficial, which healed to dressings and antibiotics. One patient had a deep infection which required frame removal.
Limb reconstruction system proved to be an effective modality of treatment in cases of open fractures of the tibia with bone loss as definite modality of treatment for damage control as well as for achieving union and lengthening, simultaneously, with the advantage of early union with attainment of limb length, simple surgical technique, minimal invasive, high patient compliance, easy wound management, lesser hospitalization and the lower rate of complications like infection, deformity or shortening.