Author(s): OlaOlorun DA, Oladiran IO, Adeniran A
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Traditional bonesetters (TBS) practice widely in Nigeria. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to evaluate the types of complications seen in patients previously treated by TBS and to assess factors that may predispose to the complications. METHODS: We carried out a prospective non-randomized controlled study in a general hospital in southwest Nigeria. All patients brought into the hospital over the 10-month study period with fractures who had been treated previously by a TBS and, as a control, all patients brought directly to and treated by us were studied. Each patient was assessed and prescribed the most appropriate treatment for their fracture: reduction, immobilization (operatively and otherwise) and physiotherapy. Malunion, non-union, delayed union, gangrene, stiffness of joints and loss of joint motion, Volkman's ischaemic contracture and tetanus were all investigated. RESULTS: Over half of the patients in the TBS subgroup had malunion, and a quarter had non-union. Only one out of the 36 (2.8\%) had no complaints and was satisfied with the outcome of treatment of his fractures by the TBS. In the orthodox subgroup, there were seven complications as a result of treatment of a total of 49 bones (14\%). Most of the complications involved the loss of joint motion. CONCLUSIONS: There were no statistically significant associations between the complications recorded and the ages of the patients, types of bone fractured or the duration of treatment in patients who were in the TBS subgroup. The introduction of a health insurance scheme in Nigeria may make it easier for individuals and families to be able to afford proper fracture treatment in hospitals.
This article was published in Fam Pract
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