OJO  Vol.3 No.6 , October 2013
Long Bone Non-Unions and Malunions: Risk Factors and Treatment Outcomes in Calabar, Southern Nigeria
Abstract: Background: Diaphyseal non-unions and malunions constitute significant morbidities in fracture care. Fracture treatment modalities seek to restore anatomic orientation and functional rehabilitation as soon as possible after a fracture incident. Malunions and non unions present a treatment challenge with the need for prolonged hospitalization, multiple surgical interventions and economic burden. In the developing world, traditional bonesetting practices are popular and these often result in a host of preventable complications. The added socioeconomic costs of treating these complications present a considerable strain on the resources of these already fragile economies and households. Aim: To document the risk factors, treatment options and outcomes for diaphyseal non-unions and malunions in our environment. Patients and Methods: Fifty-two consecutive patients comprising 37 non-unions and 15 malunions who presented in the orthopaedic unit of a tertiary hospital in Southern Nigeria were evaluated. Information sought included biodata, location of pathology, type of incident fracture, local risk factors including traditional bonesetting; treatment options and final outcomes. Information obtained was analyzed using SPSS version 20 (IBM, New York). Results are presented in simple frequency tables. Results: There were 34 males and 18 females (M:F = 1.9:1) with a mean age of 38.76 ± 14.55 years. There were 37 non-unions and 15 malunions. The femur was the commonest site of pathology in 21 (40.4%) cases, and among the non-unions, the atrophic variety was the commonest type (n = 26; 70.3%). The mean fracture-to-surgery interval was 11.35 ± 7.95 months and traditional bonesetting was the commonest risk factor (n = 36; 69.2%). Plate and screw Osteosynthesis with bonegraft augmentation was the commonest treatment modality and the overall union rate was 94%. Conclusion: Traditional bonesetting plays a major role in the health seeking behaviour of many African societies. The complications are varied and add to the overall socioeconomic burden of fracture care in these developing economies. Identification of traditional bonesetting practices as an important risk factor should translate into a focus on these practices in preventive public health decisions in fracture care. Continuing public health education backed by political will and can potentially drive a paradigm shift in health seeking attitudes in the developing word.
Cite this paper: I. Ikpeme, N. Mkpanam, I. Abang, N. Ngim and A. Udosen, "Long Bone Non-Unions and Malunions: Risk Factors and Treatment Outcomes in Calabar, Southern Nigeria," Open Journal of Orthopedics, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2013, pp. 253-257. doi: 10.4236/ojo.2013.36047.

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