Femoral Shaft Fracture Treatment in Patients Age 6 to 16 Years

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Summary:Traction followed by spica casting, the one method used to treat femoral shaft fractures in children that was used in the past, has given way to a multiplicity of methods today. To evaluate the morbidity and costs of these various methods, 85 fractures in 81 patients age six to 16 years were evaluated. Early spica casting gave excellent results with low complications and low costs. All surgical treatments cost approximately the same: 3 times the cost of early spica casting and equivalent to traction followed by spica casting. Intramedullary flexible rods resulted in quicker healing and return to full weight bearing than did external fixation, which had the highest complication rate. One case of avascular necrosis in an 11-year-old girl treated with a reamed intramedullary rod suggests that this method is best reserved for children at or near skeletal maturity.

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