Correction of Post-Traumatic Deformity

A 49-year-old male sustained a right-sided open mid-shaft tibia fracture after being struck by a stolen pickup truck while riding his bicycle.

He was treated at an outside hospital with irrigation and debridement and insertion of an intramedullary (IM) nail. He continued to follow-up at the treating hospital and developed a draining wound near the fracture site and was diagnosed with an MRSA infection and treated by intravenous antibiotics.

The intramedullary (IM) nail was eventually removed and several attempts at non-operative management were attempted at the outside hospital and he was told that his infection was eradicated.

He came to us one year after his injury for a second opinion (his antibiotic treatment had been discontinued 6 months prior). Radiographs were again obtained and revealed a mid-shaft tibial nonunion with significant deformity of approximately 30° varus and 15° flexion.

Correction of deformity was planned and performed with debridement of the nonunion site and insertion of a reamed tibial nail with a proximal dynamic interlocking screw.

The patient returned for regular follow-up visits and radiographs at 6-months post-operative illustrate a healed tibia nonunion and he reported a return to pre-injury activities and resolution of pain. The IM nail was removed at 1 year following the index surgery.

  • Figure A

    Figure A

    Radiographs illustrate a right-sided mid-shaft tibial nonunion with 30° varus deformity and 15° flexion deformity.


  • Figure B

    Figure B

    Pre-operative plan for correction of deformity and insertion of a reamed intramedullary (IM) nail.


  • Figure C

    Figure C

    Immediate post-operative radiographs following correction of deformity and insertion of a reamed IM nail and screws including a dynamic proximal dynamic interlocking screw.


  • Figure D

    Figure D

    Radiographs 1 year following the index surgery illustrate a healed tibia nonunion.


  • Figure E

    Figure E

    Fluoroscopic images following removal of the reamed IM nail (13 months following the index surgery).



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David L. Helfet, MD

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David L. Helfet, MD 

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