Thirty-two extraarticular fractures of the proximal third of the tibia were treated with locked intramedullary nails. There were 10 closed and 22 open injuries. Treatment consisted of a reamed nail in each of the 5 closed fractures, and an unreamed nail in the remaining 27 fractures. Thirty of the 32 fractures eventually healed; however, 9 (28%) underwent exchange nailing and 4 (13%) required bone grafting. At final followup, 27 of 32 fractures (84%) had angulation of 5 degrees or greater in the frontal or sagittal plane. Nineteen of the 32 fractures (59%) had 1 cm or more of displacement at the fracture site. In 8 fractures (25%), there was loss of fixation, most commonly associated with placement of a single proximal locking screw. Fractures of the proximal third of the tibial shaft do not appear to respond as favorably to intramedullary nailing as do fractures in the distal 2/3 of the tibia. Valgus, apex anterior angulation, and residual displacement at the fracture site are common after nailing. Surgical errors of a medialized nail entry point and a posteriorly and laterally directed nail insertion angle contributed to malalignment. Based on their findings, the authors have limited the use of intramedullary nailing for proximal third tibial shaft fracture and consider alternate forms of fixation (plate or external fixation).





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