The technique of retrograde intramedullary fixation of fractures through open traumatic amputations has not been previously described. We performed a retrospective case series at a tertiary-care military hospital setting. Ten patients met inclusion criteria. All were male, and all were injured through improvised explosive device. Outcome measures included the incidence of fracture nonunion, osteomyelitis or acute infection, heterotopic ossification (HO), as well as successful prosthesis fitting and ambulation. Average time to fixation after injury and amputation closure was 11.7 and 12.2 days, respectively. Follow-up averaged 20.2 months. The radiographic union rate was 100%, and time to osseous union averaged 7.5 months. One patient had an amputation site infection requiring revision, but none of the nails was removed for infectious reasons. HO occurred in 7 patients, and 2 patients required revision for symptomatic HO. All patients were successfully fitted with prostheses and able to ambulate. To our knowledge, this is the only series in the literature to specifically describe retrograde intramedullary fixation of long bone fractures through the zone of traumatic amputation sites. The infectious risk is relatively low, whereas the union rate (100%) and successful prosthesis fitting are high. For patients with similar injuries, retrograde intramedullary fixation through the zone of amputation is a viable treatment option.
- Retrograde intramedullary fixation