There is a great surgical challenge when humeral diaphyseal fractures are initially open, complex, or associated with segmental bone loss. The challenge becomes even greater with previous multiple unsuccessful surgeries. The question of this study was: Does combining locked compression plating with non-vascularized fibular autograft in cases of resistant humeral diaphyseal nonunion yield reliable bony union and satisfactory functional outcome?
The use of non-vascularized fibular autograft in conjunction with locked compression plating will provide stable construct, enhance bony union and improve functional outcome in cases of resistant humeral diaphyseal nonunion.
thirty three patients with resistant humeral diaphyseal nonunion who were surgically managed combining non-vascularized fibular autograft fixed with locked compression plating in the period from January 2011 to June 2017, were retrospectively studied. All patients were followed-up for a minimum of 24 months. The time to union, the postoperative disability of arm, shoulder and hand (DASH) score, in addition to the possible complications including infection or nonunion were reported and analyzed.
Twenty nine patients have achieved union at the final follow-up with a mean time to radiological union of 7.5±2.6 months (range: 3-12). The mean postoperative DASH score was 7.7±8.9 (range: 0-38.8) which was significantly better than the preoperative value (p<0.001) and superior in the patients of aseptic nonunion (p=0.04). Eight patients showed complications in the form of infection (four), nonunion (two cases), transient radial nerve palsy (one case) and one case of septic nonunion that was managed by two stage reconstruction using vascularized fibular autograft. There were comparable results in patients with either open or closed fractures. However, patients with septic nonunion experienced more significant complications (p=0.02).
The use of non-vascularized fibula autograft in cases of resistant humeral diaphyseal nonunion provides adequate fracture stability, quadrilateral screw purchase, enhances bony union in addition to promoting satisfactory functional outcome particularly in aseptic nonunion.
IV; retrospective case series.