Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research issue:353 pages:223-30
Ilizarov's method of monofocal compression was used in 30 humeri with a diaphyseal pseudarthrosis. Twenty-one patients had previous surgery but had loosening of the osteosynthesis material. Nine patients initially were treated with a hanging cast, resulting in interfragmentary distraction. Fourteen nonunions were hypertrophic, and 16 were atrophic, of which six were infected. A complete circular frame was used only in the first nine patients, whereas the remaining 21 patients were treated with the modified semicircular fixator. Union was obtained in all but two patients, with an average consolidation time of 4.5 months (range, 2.5-10 months). No patient required additional bone grafting. Apart from superficial pin tract infection seen in most of the patients, three had a minor temporary sensory neurologic problem. Four patients experienced a second fracture after removal of the fixator that required a second application of an Ilizarov frame. Although similar results with regard to union are reported after plate osteosynthesis, there was no radial nerve palsy or deep infection in this series, indicating that the treatment by the Ilizarov technique is associated with less complications. The authors' findings suggest that the Ilizarov method is a reliable treatment for humeral nonunions, even after multiple previous operations or in the event of infection.