Cast Brace Management of the Femoral Shaft Fracture in Children and Young Adults
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Seventy-two children and adolescents, 5-19 years of age, sustaining femoral fractures were treated with immediate cast bracing at Oklahoma Children's Memorial Hospital. Ambulation was started an average of 3 days after fracture when there were no associated injuries. The average length of hospitalization was 18.7 days; the average length of immobilization in plaster was 67.4 days. Results were generally comparable to those of more standard methods of treating a fractured femur in this age group. Proximal as well as middle and distal fractures were treated, but varus and anterior angulation was not well controlled in proximal fractures. No patient had a clinically significant deformity. Sixty-one percent of the entire group healed with less than 6 mm discrepancy. Middle-third fractures showed more tendency toward shortening. All six fractures that healed with more than 1.5 cm of shortening were middle third. No injured femur was longer than the uninjured femur at a 6-month follow-up. Immediate cast bracing can provide an opportunity for early ambulation and avoid the sequelae of immobilization. Weekly assessment for the first 4 weeks is mandatory to monitor length and angulation. The adolescent male with a midshaft fracture was most difficult to manage, and in this situation, closed intramedullary nailing is recommended.
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