Mustafa Gökhan Bilgili, Bülent Tanrıverdi, Erdem Edipoğlu, Önder Murat Hürmeydan, Alkan Bayrak, Altuğ Duramaz, Cemal Kural

Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, Bakırköy Dr. Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Keywords: Autologous bone grafting, biologically inactive nonunion, infection, intramedullary nailing


Objectives: This study aims to describe the important points for treatment of aseptic tibial oligotrophic and atrophic nonunions by intramedullary nailing (IMN).

Patients and methods: The retrospective study included 17 biologically nonactive nonunion patients (12 males, 5 females; mean age 36.4 years; range, 19 to 49 years) operated between February 2010 and November 2017 by deformity correction, static IMN and autografting. The mean follow-up time was 4.2 (range, 3 to 7) years. The initial fracture management was external fixator for all patients. Fourteen patients had open fractures initially. Six patients had valgus, four patients had varus, three patients had oblique plane, and four patients had external rotational deformity. Nonunion diagnosis was established on the basis of the patient history and physical examination based on plain radiographs, computed tomography or both. All patients were evaluated by the same protocol to exclude any infection.

Results: The median time from injury to nailing was mean 10.3 (range, 6.1 to 36.5) months. Radiologic and clinical union was achieved in all patients. The mean union time was 3.64 (range, 3 to 6) months. Three patients had positive intraoperative bacteriological culture. In four patients, dynamization was necessary for consolidation. Late deep infection developed in three patients after union, and all infected cases were operated by implant removal, debridement, and appropriate antibiotics.

Conclusion: Intramedullary nailing and autografting after external fixator provide good results for the treatment of aseptic biologically nonactive nonunions with deformity. Reamed IMN ensures sufficient deformity correction, biological environment, and mechanical stability. The infection risk should always be kept in mind and patients should be followed-up closely to prevent complications.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.