Controlled Compression Nailing for At Risk Humeral Shaft Fractures

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Summary:Compression techniques seem to be the primary factor in determining the success of both plating and nailing techniques for the management of acute fractures and for delayed and nonunion management of these fractures. An intramedullary nail that can provide continual compression (like a plate) and mechanical manipulation of the callous throughout the course of treatment is an ideal device that provides all the advantages of plating and nailing and avoids the noted limitations of both. The UNYTE compression humeral nail is based on the PRECICE intramedullary limb lengthening system. This nail provides the ability to intraoperatively compress a humeral fracture immediately and continue compression in the outpatient setting with the external remote controller. This compression nail allows the surgeon to continually modulate stability through controlled compression and the ability to relengthen if necessary. The capacity to achieve constant compression at the fracture site has demonstrated rapid healing of the “at risk” humerus fracture in this series. We review the current indications for use of this device after its early introduction. In most cases, this was the failure of conservative brace management that presented with a progressive distraction gap and minimal callous formation or those fractures that could not be adequately controlled in the brace with malalignment greater than 20 degrees. The protocol for intraoperative compression using the external remote controller is detailed, as is the outpatient protocol for follow-up. The compression algorithm for progression to full fracture healing is also reviewed.

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