Author(s): Borus TA, Yian EH, Karunakar MA
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The orthopedic surgery literature is replete with techniques for managing primary humeral shaft nonunions, with success rates upwards of 90 percent with plate fixation and autogenous bone grafting. Despite this success, persistent nonunion following one or more initial failed nonunion interventions can occur, imposing a significant clinical and surgical challenge. We report the application of a standard treatment protocol for refractory humeral shaft nonunions including optimization of patient co-morbidities in the peri-operative period, rigid 4.5mm compression plating with a minimum of eight cortices of fixation proximal and distal to the nonunion site, and utilization of autogenous bone grafting. This study, a retrospective review of seven patients, all managed based on this standard treatment protocol, revealed that all achieved fracture nonunion within six months of revision surgery. Six of seven patients were clinically satisfied with the outcome of surgery; one remained dissatisfied secondary to a chronic neuropathic pain syndrome. Although more complex surgical options such as Ilizarov external fixation and allograft cortical strut augmentation have been reported, and are available in the salvage situation of refractory humeral nonunions, we conclude strict application of basic nonunion principles can result in successful salvage of humerus nonunions in patients who have failed two or more prior surgical interventions.
This article was published in Iowa Orthop J
and referenced in Journal of Trauma & Treatment