Staged management of infected humeral nonunion

Chao Yu Chen, Steve Wen Neng Ueng*, Chun-Hsiung Shih

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

21 Scopus citations


Fourteen patients with infected humeral nonunion complicated by sinus discharge were treated with a staged protocol consisting of (1) radical debridement with local antibiotic beads implantation, and (2) external skeletal fixation with autologous bone grafting. In the first stage, a thorough debridement and sequestrectomy were done. Antibiotic beads were used to obliterate the bone defect, and the wound was then directly closed. In the second stage, the bead chains were replaced with autogenous cancellous bone graft. Unilateral Hoffman external skeletal fixators were applied simultaneously. The mean follow-up period was 73.6 months (range, 29 months to 9 years). The length of time to achieve bony union ranged from 3.5 to 8 months (average, 4.3 months). Hoffman pin complication was found in two cases, which were then shifted to plate internal fixation. All the infections were eradicated, and the wounds healed without further skin graft or flap coverage. All the fractures achieved bony union except for one in a patient who died. Most patients acquired satisfactory function of elbow motion after removal of external fixation and physical therapy. The method of two-stage management was effective for infected humeral nonunion. Not only was the infection eradicated and osseous union achieved, but also the limb function and joint motion were preserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-798
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - 11 1997
Externally publishedYes


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