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Journal Article


Odatuwa-Omagbemi DO. Pan. Afr. Med. J. 2019; 33: 234.


Department of Surgery, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria.


(Copyright © 2019, African Field Epidemiology Network)








INTRODUCTION: Management of open fractures poses a constant challenge to Orthopaedic surgeons in Nigeria. Our aim is to determine the epidemiological pattern of open fractures in our centre and share our experiences on the initial management and problems encountered.

METHODS: This was an 18 month prospective study of patients that presented with open fractures at our emergency room. Already prepared data collection sheets were used to collect relevant data directly from patients and patients' files.

RESULTS: There were 58 open fractures in 52 patients (31 males and 21 females). Mean age of patients was 36.4 ± 12.2 years. Most patients (82.7%) fell within the age group of 20-49 years. Traders (28.9%) and students (19.6%) were mostly affected. Most open fractures (88.5%) were due to road traffic accidents. The tibia and fibula were the most frequently affected (44.4%). Most injuries were Gustilo et al. types IIIA & IIIB (79.3%) open fractures. Patients had initial resuscitation followed by debridement in 42 cases (72%). Fractures were initially stabilized with external fixators in 23 cases (39.7%) and cast slabs in 19 cases (32.8%). The average time between presentation and debridement was 30 hours and average hospital stay was 36 days. Forty two point five per cent of wounds were infected.

CONCLUSION: Open fractures were mostly due to road traffic accidents and affected the tibia and fibula most frequently with Gustilo et al. types IIIA and IIIB forming the bulk of the injuries. Management was challenging with late presentations, scarcity of resources and consequent high rate of infections, prolonged morbidity and hospital stay. These problems were worsened by delay in antibiotic commencement and initial debridement, sub-optimal treatment at peripherial hospitals and mis-management by traditional bone setters.

© David Odoyoh Odatuwa-Omagbemi et al.

Language: en


Open fractures; external fixators; management challenges; road traffic accidents


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