Update on leg fractures in paediatric patients
Publication date: Available online 27 March 2018
Source: Orthopaedics & Traumatology: Surgery & Research
Author(s): Jean-Damien Metaizeau, Delphy Denis
Leg fractures are common and further increasing in prevalence in paediatric patients. The diagnosis is readily made in most cases. Choosing the best treatment is the main issue. Non-operative treatment is the reference standard for non-displaced or reducible and stable fractures but requires considerable expertise and close monitoring, as well as an immobilisation period that far exceeds 3 months in many cases. Some surgical teams therefore offer elastic stable intra-medullary nailing (ESIN) as an alternative to children who do not want to be immobilised for several months. Internal fixation is required for unstable or irreducible leg fractures. ESIN is often used as the first-line method, based on its very good risk/benefit ratio. For fractures that do not lend themselves to ESIN, optimal stabilisation can be achieved by choosing among the other available options (screw-plate fixation, rigid intra-medullary nailing or external fixation) on a case-by-case basis. Close monitoring during the first few days is crucial to ensure the early detection of compartment syndrome. The other complications and sequelae are non-specific.