Pelvifemoral external fixation for the treatment of open fractures of the proximal femur caused by firearms.

Published online: Feb 27 2002

Miric DM, Bumbasirevic MZ, Senohradski KK, Djordjevic ZP.

Institute of Radiology, Military Medical Academy, Belgrade, Yugoslavia. midra@eunet.yu


Seventeen patients with open fractures of the upper third of the femur were treated using a pelvifemoral external fixation device. All of them had grade III open fractures resulting from high-velocity missile and explosive injuries with massive foreign body contamination. Sciatic nerve injury was present in five (29.4%); abdominal viscera and thoracic wall injuries were present in two patients (11.8%). There were no major arterial injuries. Full weight bearing was allowed after clinical and radiological bone healing (average 11.5 months). Chronic osteitis with fistula and sequestra developed in two (11.8%) patients. There were no nonunions and no refractures. Minor painless limitation of hip motion persisted in all patients. Upper-third femoral open fractures due to firearms are a unique type of open fractures. They are usually highly comminuted; therefore, stable fixation is difficult or impossible to achieve using external fixation with transfixation of the fracture site. On the other hand, the risk of infection is high following intramedullary nailing. Pelvifemoral external fixation allows adequate management of the soft tissue wounds, provides stable bone fixation and allows early patient mobilization.