Treatment of refracture occurring after external fixation in paediatric femoral fractures

Published online: Dec 27 2004


From Dicle University, Diyarbakir, Turkey


With a mean follow-up of four years, we assessed the outcomes of 11 refractures which occurred following paediatric femoral fractures treated by external fixation ; the refractures were treated conservatively with simple immobilisation in a spica cast. A total number of 104 children with a femoral fracture were treated with external fixation between 1993 and 2000 in our institution. Refracture occurred in 11 cases after fixator removal. These patients were immediately placed in a hip spica cast. All 11 patients were boys, with a mean age of 7.3 years (range : 6 to 9), and the mean follow-up time was 4 years (range : 2 to 7). Mean hospitalisation time after refracture was 2 days (range : 0 to 4). Refractures occurred an average of 8 days (range : 1 to 21) after fixation removal. The mean time to union after refracture was 55 days (range : 35 to 62). On final evaluation, a mean limb length discrepancy of 0.9 cm (range : 0 to 2.5) was noted. Radiological study showed a mean lateral angulation of 5.6° (range : 0 to 17) and a mean anterior angulation of 7.4° (range : 0 to 20). Based on these findings, we believe that closed reduction and spica cast immobilisation is sufficient in cases with refracture of the femur after external fixation, but the option of surgical treatment should be considered when satisfactory anatomic reduction is not achieved.