BMC musculoskeletal disorders 2017 08 1518(1) 351 doi 10.1186/s12891-017-1706-y
Infected non-unions of the supracondylar region of the femur are uncommon. Even though hardware removal is a common procedure, it may lead to complications, including neurovascular injury, refracture, worsening pain or recurrence of deformity.
We report on a male who developed subcutaneous emphysema of the leg after hardware removal and bone allografting for an infected non-union of the distal femur. He was managed by debridement of the surgical wound, antibiotic therapy, multiple fasciotomies, and application of a VAC (vacuum-assisted closure) system.
Although subcutaneous emphysema of the leg after hardware removal and bone allografting for infected non-union of the distal femur is extremely rare, the potential life treating complications and their potential impact on the functional status of the patient have to be taken into consideration when counseling patients about this procedure. Even when it is not possible to identify a bacterial pathogen responsible for the subcutaneous emphysema of the leg, prompt intervention may save the limb of the patient.