Objective: Restoration of axis, length, and rotation of the lower leg. Sufficient primary stability of the osteosynthesis for functional aftercare. Early functional aftercare to maintain joint mobility. Good bony healing in closed and open fractures.
Indications: All closed and open fractures of the tibia and complete lower leg fractures (AO 42). Certain extraarticular fractures of the proximal and distal tibia (AO 41 A2/A3; AO 43 A1/A2/A3). Segmental fractures of the tibia. Certain intraarticular fractures of the tibia with use of additional implants (AO 41 C1/C2; AO 43 C1/C2). Stabilization during and after segmental bone transport or callus distraction of the tibia.
Contraindications: Patients in poor general condition (e.g., bedridden). Flexion of the knee of less than 90 degrees . Infection in the nail's insertion area. Infection of the tibial cavity. Complex articular fractures of the proximal or distal tibia with joint depression.
Surgical technique: Closed reduction of the fracture. If necessary, use of reduction clamps through additional stab incisions or open surgical procedures. In some cases, additional osteosynthesis procedures are necessary (e.g., screws). Positioning of the patient may be performed on a radiolucent table or a traction table. Opening of the proximal tibia in line with the medullary canal. Cannulated or noncannulated insertion of the Expert Tibia Nail((R)) with or without reaming of the medullary canal depending on the fracture type and soft-tissue condition. Control of axis, length, and rotation. Distal interlocking with the radiolucent drill and proximal interlocking with the targeting device.
Postoperative management: Immediate mobilization of ankle joint and knee joint. Depending on the type of fracture, mobilization with 20 kg partial weight bearing or pain-dependent full weight bearing with crutches. X-ray control 6 weeks postoperatively and increased weight bearing depending on the fracture status.
Results: In a prospective, international multicentric study, 181 patients with 186 fractures were included between July 2004 and May 2005. 57 of these fractures (30.7%) initially were graded open, 15 of them grade I, 32 grade II, and ten grade III. Most of the fractures (36%) were shaft fractures. After 1 year, 146 patients (81%) could be evaluated clinically and radiologically. The overall pseudarthrosis rate was 12.2% (18.2% for open and 9.7% for closed fractures). The risk for secondary operations or revisions (including dynamization of the nail) was 18.8%. Without consideration of dynamization procedures, revisions were necessary in only 5.4% of all patients. The risk for varus, valgus or antecurvation malalignment of more than 5 degrees in any plane on radiologic long leg views was 4.3% for shaft fractures, 1.5% for distal fractures, and 13.6% for proximal fractures. The implant-specific risk for bolt breakage was 3.2%.