A new way to treat forearm post-traumatic non-union in young patients with intramedullary nailing and platelet-rich plasma

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Introduction Non-union rate in forearm fractures is generally less than 2% when a proper technique is used; this rate increases when ulnar lesions are involved. Patients and methods We present a case series of seven young patients whose average age was 14 years (range 11-19 years) at the time of surgery and who presented with a forearm post-traumatic non-union that was previously treated in different ways (three isolated ulnar non-union, two isolated radial non-union and two combined). Average follow-up was 34 months (range 9-72 months). Surgical treatment began with the removal of the previous synthesis and with curettage of the non-union area. The Acumed ulnar rod, Acumed radial rod and Thalon elastic nail (all of them are unreamed and locked nails) together with autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) obtained with the Biomet System (concentration of 158.2 × 104 platelets/μL) were chosen to treat the patients. X-rays and clinical controls were conducted every 30 days until recovery. Results All patients recovered: average recovery was 23 weeks from operation (range 16-36 weeks) and nails were removed 3 months after complete healing. Six patients had excellent results and one patient had a good result (Patient 2, forearm pronosupination 60-0-40 degrees). Discussion The purpose of the case series was to establish a better way of treatment and to find a technique that could avoid the use of bone grafts, because obtaining autologous bone requires a further surgical procedure that can be really invasive depending on the amount of bone needed. Conclusion All patients in the study showed complete recovery, with excellent clinical outcomes. Although there were only seven patients in this case series, and there is a need to analyse more patients, this study showed that the use of a specific locking nail system can provide proper stability to ulnar or radial atrophic non-union despite rotational forces, and when combined with autologous growth factors (PRP) is sufficient to promote bone healing in young patients without the necessity to take autologous bone grafts. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Memeo, A., Verdoni, F., De Bartolomeo, O., Albisetti, W., & Pedretti, L. (2014). A new way to treat forearm post-traumatic non-union in young patients with intramedullary nailing and platelet-rich plasma. Injury, 45(2), 418–423. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.injury.2013.09.021

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