Predicting suitability of intramedullary fixation for displaced midshaft clavicle fractures

M. H. J. Hulsmans, M. van Heijl, H. Frima, O. A. J. van der Meijden, H. R. van den Berg, A. H. van der Veen, A. C. Gunning, R. M. Houwert, E. J. M. M. Verleisdonk

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Purpose: Implant-related irritation is a technique-specific complication seen in a substantial number of patients treated with intramedullary nailing for clavicle fractures. The purpose of this study was to identify predictors for developing implant-related irritation in patients with displaced midshaft clavicle fractures treated with elastic stable intramedullary nailing. Methods: A retrospective analysis of the surgical database in two level 2 trauma centers was performed. Patients who underwent intramedullary nailing for displaced midshaft clavicle fractures between 2005 and 2012 in the first hospital were included. Age, gender, fracture comminution and fracture location were assessed as possible predictors for developing irritation using multivariate logistic regression analysis. These predictors were externally validated using data of patients treated in another hospital. Results: Eighty-one patients were included in initial analysis. In the multivariate analysis, comminuted fractures in comparison to non-comminuted fractures (72 vs. 38%, p = 0.027) and fracture location (p < 0.001) were significantly associated with the development of implant-related irritation. In particular, lateral diaphyseal fractures caused irritation compared to fractures on the medial side of the cut-off point (88 vs. 26%). External validation of these predictors in 48 additional patients treated in another hospital showed a similar predictive value of the model and a good fit. Conclusion: Comminuted and lateral diaphyseal fractures were found to be statistically significant and independent predictors for developing implant-related irritation. We, therefore, believe that intramedullary nailing might not be suitable for these types of fractures. Future studies are needed to determine whether alternative surgical techniques or implants would be more suitable for these specific types of fractures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-587
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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