Is it safe to place a tibial intramedullary nail through a traumatic knee arthrotomy?

Jennifer M. Bauer, Jesse E. Bible, Hassan R. Mir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We conducted a study to compare postoperative infection and nonunion rates in tibial intramedullary nails (IMNs) placed through either uninjured knees or traumatic knee arthrotomies (KAs). We reviewed all adult tibial diaphyseal fractures (n = 1378) treated with an IMN between 1998 and 2010. Fourteen of these nails were placed through a traumatic KA. Each patient in the study group was assigned 4 separate matched controls for comparison. Controls were matched on age, sex, diabetes, smoking, and fracture classification (closed or open with Gustilo-Anderson). There were no postoperative infections (knee or fracture site) in the traumatic KA group and 2 (3.5%) in the control group (P = .473). One nonunion (7.1%) was noted in the traumatic KA group, and 9 (16%) were noted in the control group (P = .6694). To our knowledge, this is the first study to report outcomes of placing tibial IMNs through traumatic KAs. In our sample, the practice presented no increased risk either for infection (at the knee or the fracture site) or for nonunion with appropriate surgical debridement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-121
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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