Introduction: Elective implant removal following healed extremity fractures remains controversial. This study aimed to evaluate the reasons and outcomes of implant removal after uneventful healing of limb fractures.
Materials and methods: This is a prospective single-centre observational cohort study. Patients who sustained upper or lower extremity fractures that were fixed and healed uneventfully were included in the study when they elected to remove the implants. Patients were followed for six months post-operatively. Outcomes were assessed with patient satisfaction, symptoms resolution, and complications
Results: A total of 43 patients were recruited from October 2016 to March 2019. Thirty-six patients (37 implants) were symptomatic. Pain and prominence were the most common complaints, present in 59.5% and 33.3% of patients, respectively. Cold weather pain was also not uncommon (19.0%). Pain improved in 91.3% of the patients who complained of pain. The 94.6% symptomatic patients had at least partial resolution of pre-operative symptoms. All the patients who completed follow-up were satisfied with the procedure. In two patients, there were broken and retained screws intra-operatively. Post-operative complication rate was 23.8%, although no major complications occurred.
Conclusion: Implant removal after uneventful healing of extremity fractures is a safe procedure that conferred a predictable relief of symptoms and satisfactory outcomes in most.
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