Compared with long-leg splinting, distal femoral skeletal traction did not result in detectable knee dysfunction after insertion and resulted in less pain during and after immobilization, researchers found.
Of 120 adult patients with femoral shaft, acetabular and unstable pelvic fractures, the researchers placed patients with femoral shaft fractures into distal femoral skeletal traction or a long-leg splint and patients with pelvic or acetabular fractures with instability or intra-articular bone fragments into skeletal traction. The researchers administered the Lysholm knee survey to assess pre-injury knee pain and function and repeated the survey at 3- and 6-month follow-up. Immediately before, during and immediately after fracture immobilization with traction or splinting, the researchers administered a 10-point VAS to document pain.
Overall, 29% of patients were immobilized with a long-leg splint and 71% with a distal femoral traction pin. Six-month follow-up was completed by 70% of patients.
Results showed from pre-injury baseline to 6 months postinjury, Lysholm scores decreased by a mean 9.3 points in the entire cohort. The researchers found no significant differences between the splint and traction pin groups.
Compared with patients who received splints, patients who received traction pins had significantly lower VAS pain scores during application of immobilization, according to the researchers. Additionally, traction pins did not cause any instances of infection, neurovascular injuries or iatrogenic fractures. – by Casey Tingle
Disclosures: Bumpass reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.