Elastic stable intramedullary nailing has become a popular treatment for pediatric long-bone fractures. However, early limb malalignment and length differences may occur in children with femoral fractures who are managed with this procedure.Methods:
We prospectively followed sixty-eight children (mean age, 5.6 years) who were managed with elastic stable intramedullary nailing for the treatment of a unilateral femoral shaft fracture in order to evaluate early angular or rotational malalignment or limb-length discrepancy. The average body weight was 21 kg (range, 10 to 45 kg). There were fifty-seven AO/ASIF Type-A fractures and eleven Type-B fractures. Malalignment was assessed with use of radiographs, computed tomography, or navigated ultrasound examination after four to seven months to evaluate the short-term result of fixation and to eliminate changes caused by later bone remodeling.Results:
The mean femoral length difference was 0.5 mm of femoral lengthening. Only eleven patients (16%) had a limb-length discrepancy of >10 mm. Mechanical axial deviation of >5° occurred in one patient. However, the mean femoral rotational angle difference was 14.5°. Thirty-two children (47%) had =15° of torsional malalignment.Conclusions:
Elastic stable intramedullary nailing can provide satisfactory results in terms of limb length and axial alignment, but a high rate of early torsional malalignment may be seen.Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.