Introduction: Exchange nailing is most acceptable for treating hypertrophic non-union of the long bones, requiring the removal of previously fixed implant. However, its main effect of mechanical stabilization is controversial in non-isthmal area. We hypothesized that minimally invasive plate augmentation over the non-union site may have a better option, without the need of bone grafting or removing pre-existing implants. Materials and methods: Seventeen patients with hypertrophic non-union of the long bones between 2010 and 2014 on radiography who previously underwent intramedullary (IM) nailing or plate osteosynthesis for long-bone fractures were included. A locking compression plate was inserted with at least three mono- or bicortical screws at each proximal and distal segment. Broken or loosened interlocking screws of IM nail were simultaneously re-fixed. Fracture site exposure, pre-fixed implant removal, and bone grafting were not performed. We investigated whether union occurred and analyzed functional outcomes and complications. Results: Eleven femoral and six tibial non-unions were prospectively included. In the pre-existing implants, 13 nails and 4 plates were found. All cases achieved union at a mean 22.7 weeks. One case of superficial infection was managed with oral antibiotics. Deep infection or implant failure did not occur. Conclusions: Minimally invasive plate augmentation can achieve additional stability and promote healing of hypertrophic non-union of the long bones. When indicated, this technique is the least invasive alternative to exchange nailing and reduces surgical risks in the treatment of diaphyseal non-union.
- Bone graft
- Exchange nailing
- Hypertrophic non-union
- Minimally invasive plate augmentation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine