Research Article
Volume 12 Issue 4 - 2021
Outcome of Femoral Fractures Treated with External Fixators in the Douala General Hospital: A Referral Hospital in a Poor Resource Setting in Africa
Fokam Pius1*, Nwagbara IC2, Nana C Theophile1, Mbachan T1, Palle JN1 and Ngowe Ngowe M3
1Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon
2College of Medicine, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria
3Faculty of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Douala, Douala, Cameroon
*Corresponding Author: Fokam Pius, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon.
Received: February 15, 2021; Published: March 30, 2021


Background: The femur is the most robust and the longest bone in the body. It is a weight bearing bone and when fractured requires a strong and stable fixation. Intramedullary nailing is the best treatment option however other options also give successful results. External fixator has been used as temporary method especially in polytraumatised patients and open fractures. In our environment where secondary procedure is not very feasible because of limited resources, external fixators have been used as a definitive treatment with satisfactory outcome.

Objective: To study the outcome of patients with femoral fractures treated with external fixator.

Materials and Methods: Files of patients with femoral fractures treated with external fixators within a period of 10 years (January 2008 - December 2017) were retrieved from the surgical unit of Douala General Hospital. Standard definition of operational terms like fracture union, nonunion and malunion were used. The data obtained were age, gender, cause and type of fracture, associated injuries and complications. This data was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. Pearson’s chi square test was used with a confidence interval (CI) of 95% at a p-value of < 0.05.

Results: We reviewed 97 files and exploited 86 with 87 fractures since there was a bilateral case. There were 62 (71.3%) open and 25 (28.7%) closed fractures. Most of the open fractures were Gustillo type II and IIIB (27.4%) each. Associated injuries included head injuries 23 (26%), radius/ulna fractures 12 (14.0%) and pelvic fractures 6 (7.0%). Average duration of surgery was 61 mins and average union time was 30 weeks. A total of 26 (30%) fractures consolidated uneventfully. Pin tract infection was the commonest complication with 37%. Most of it healed satisfactorily with dressings and antibiotics.

Conclusion: External fixators which are indicated for temporary fixation of femoral fractures have been found to be suitable in the definitive management of these fractures in low income settings and with favourable outcome. It is cost effective, fast to apply and with minimal soft tissue damage.


Keywords: Femur; Fracture; External Fixator; Outcome


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Citation: Fokam Pius., et al. “Outcome of Femoral Fractures Treated with External Fixators in the Douala General Hospital: A Referral Hospital in a Poor Resource Setting in Africa”. EC Orthopaedics 12.4 (2021): 54-61.

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