PURPOSE:
Immediate spica cast application is the standard of care for young children with isolated femur fractures. We evaluated the outcomes and function of children treated with single-leg spica casts.

METHODS:
We performed a retrospective review of 45 children treated with single-leg spica casts. Demographic data, mechanism of injury, hospitalization time, time in cast, and complications were collected by chart review. Children returned for a physical examination and radiographs. Subjects completed a questionnaire about the child's functional level and the Activities Scale for Kids.

RESULTS:
There were 33 boys and 12 girls. The average age was 3.3 (9 months to 9 years). The mechanism of injury was a fall in 71%. The mean hospitalization was 1 day (0-4 days) and the mean time to union was 6 weeks (4-9 weeks). Ninety-five percent of the patients crawled in the cast, 90% pulled to stand, 81% cruised, and 62% walked either independently or with assistive devices. One half of the patients in school or daycare returned while in the cast. Two children failed because of unacceptable shortening. Two children required repeat reductions under anesthesia due to unacceptable alignment. Five casts broke at the hip joint. At final review, there was 1 rotational malunion. There were no radiographic malunions. The median Activities Scale for Kids score was 95 of 100 possible points.

CONCLUSIONS:
The single-leg spica can safely, effectively manage low-energy femur fractures in young children.

SIGNIFICANCE:
The single-leg spica may address some of the social concerns associated with the use of a spica cast for simple femur fractures.





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