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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Internal fixation of femoral shaft fractures in children by intramedullary Kirschner wires (a prospective study): its significance for developing countries

Shashank D Chitgopkar

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopaedics, King Khalid hospital, Najran, Saudi Arabia

BMC Surgery 2005, 5:6  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-5-6

Published: 29 March 2005

Abstract

Background

To evaluate internal fixation by intramedullary Kirschner wires as a surgical technique in the treatment of femoral shaft fractures in children by a prospective study.

Methods

17 femoral shaft fractures at various levels in 16 children aged 2–15 years were treated by closed intramedullary Kirschner wiring under image intensifier control between May 2000 and October 2003. No external splint was used.

Results

Fracture union was achieved in 6–14 weeks. Non-weight bearing crutch walking was started 2–3 days after surgery. Full weight bearing started 6–14 weeks. Average operative time was 40 min (range 20–72 min). Wires were removed after 8–22 weeks. There were no infections, no limb length disparity. One child had pin track ulceration. A big child of 14 years had angulation of the fracture.

Conclusion

Intramedullary nailing of femoral shaft fractures in children by stainless steel Kirschner wires is an effective method, which compares well with other studies. It is a simple procedure, which can be easily reproduced. Blood loss is minimal, and the operative time short. There is no need pre-bend the wires in a C or S curve. Stainless steel Kirschner wires are cheap, universally available, and can be manufactured locally. The cost of Image intensifiers is affordable in most of the cities of the developing countries. The hospital does not have to maintain a costly inventory. Provides early mobility, return to home and, school. Gives a predictable clinical pathway and reduces occupancy of hospital beds.

The technique was successfully applied for internal fixation of other diaphyseal fractures in children and some selected diaphyseal fractures in adults. Based on my experience and a review of the literature, I recommend this technique as a modality for treatment of femoral shaft fractures in children aged 2 to 14 years.