Early Surgical Repair of Isolated Traumatic Sternal Fractures Using a Cervical Plate System

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Abstract

Background:

We reviewed our experience of the surgical management and follow-up of patients admitted with an isolated traumatic sternal fracture (TSF) to a Thoracic Surgical Unit through the Emergency Department.

Methods:

During a 5-year period, six patients were surgically treated for an isolated TSF. Presence of physical deformity or acute and persistent pain were considered indications for surgical repair. Surgical repair was performed within 1 week from the trauma by means of a titanium cervical plate system currently in use in spine surgery.

Results:

There were no postoperative complications. Mean hospital stay was 3 days. All patients showed regular sternal healing at 6 to 8 weeks. In one patient the plate was removed after 3 years because of persistent chest discomfort.

Conclusions:

Early surgical repair of isolated TSF is advocated in cases of physical deformity or acute and persistent pain. The titanium cervical plate system provides effective repair of the fracture with satisfactory long-term results.

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