Introduction: Infected non-union of long bones is a chronic and debilitating disorder. It is more difficult to deal with when the implant used for internal fixation itself becomes a potential media for infection because of bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation. Traditionally, it is managed by two- stage procedure for controlling the infection first and then treating the nonunion. This study has been undertaken to explore antibiotic cement coated nailing as single stage treatment modality for treating infection and achieving stability at the same time.
Materials and Methods: Twenty patients (above 18 years of age) with infected nonunion of tibia with bone gap less than 2 cm were managed using antibiotic cement coated K-nail. Antibiotic cement nail was prepared using endotracheal tube method. Antibiotics used were a combination of vancomycin and teicoplanin.
Results: Infection was controlled in 95% of the patients. Bony union was achieved in 12 of 20 (60%) patients with antibiotic cement nailing as the only procedure with average time of union of 32 weeks. Remaining 8 patients required additional procedures like bone grafting or exchange nailing and these were done in six patients, with union of fracture. Two patients refused to undergo further procedures. Complications encountered were difficult nail removal in three cases, broken nail in two cases, and bent nail in one case. Recurrence of infection was observed in two patients. Average period of follow-up was 13 months.
Conclusion: Antibiotic cement impregnated nailing is a simple, economical and effective single stage procedure for the management of infected nonunion of tibia. It is advantageous over external fixators, as it eliminates the complications of external fixators and has good patient compliance. The method utilizes existing easily available instrumentation and materials and is technically less demanding, and therefore can be performed at any general orthopaedic center.
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