External fixation of pediatric lower extremity fractures is usually reserved for severe, open fractures in polytraumatized patients, but it is often the only available treatment option for deployed military surgeons. We analyzed the outcomes and complications of 17 consecutive pediatric long bone fractures treated with external fixation at a Forward Surgical Team facility in an austere environment during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan during a 12-month period. Treatment consisted of uniplanar external fixation for 12 femoral shaft fractures (11 closed), 4 tibial shaft fractures (all open), and 1 subtrochanteric fracture (closed) in 14 males and 3 females with an average age of 7.4 years. All 17 fractures went on to union with no incidences of refracture. Complications included 1 broken pin and 3 pin site infections treated with wound care and oral antibiotics. In a deployed environment, external fixation is the treatment method of choice for lower extremity fractures by virtue of patient, environment, equipment, and mission factors. This case series validates the usage of a simple, uniplanar external fixator for a variety of open and closed pediatric long bone fractures as evidenced by the successful union rate and low number of complications.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||American journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2012|
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