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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-72

Continuous irrigation as dead space management for fracture-related Type 1 intramedullary chronic osteomyelitis


1 Department of Surgical Sciences, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
2 Department of Orthopaedics, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Jan-Petrus Grey
Department of Surgical Sciences, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tygerberg Hospital, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town 7505
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jllr.jllr_7_22

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Introduction: Dead space management following intramedullary debridement and reaming can be challenging and several alternatives have been described. The main objective of this study was to investigate the clinical outcome and resolution rate in patients treated for fracture-related Cierny and Mader anatomical type 1 intramedullary chronic osteomyelitis by means of continuous irrigation (modified Lautenbach system) as dead space management following intramedullary reaming. Materials and Methods: A consecutive series of thirty patients with Cierny and Mader type 1 chronic osteomyelitis, treated between May 2016 and September 2019, were evaluated retrospectively. Patient history and clinical information, including imaging and laboratory results, were reviewed. Treatment procedures and antibiotic profiles were also recorded. Results: The initial cohort included 30 cases with 18 tibias, 11 femurs, and one humerus. Seven patients were excluded; three patients did not return for follow-up and four patients had <6 months of follow-up. Of the remaining 23 patients, 91% (21/23) achieved resolution of infection over a median follow-up period of 16 months (interquartile range [IQR] 7–21 months). Infecting organisms where isolated in 65% (15/23). The median duration of hospital stay was 6 days (IQR 4–7 days). Postoperative complications were noted in two cases and involved a tibial and femoral refracture, respectively. Both patients however achieved union without recurrence of infection following surgical intervention. Conclusion: Continuous irrigation is a cost-effective single-stage surgical option for dead space management during the treatment of intramedullary chronic osteomyelitis. It provides the advantage of instilling high dose intramedullary antibiotics and negates the need for a second surgical procedure while achieving similar outcomes than other dead space management techniques. Level of Evidence: IV, single-center retrospective study


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