Treatment for postoperative infection of pathological femoral fracture after radiotherapy: two case reports and review of the literature

Abstract

Introduction

Radiation-induced pathological fractures show high nonunion and infection rates. Successful treatment of postoperative infections of these fractures without limb amputation is extremely rare.

Methods

We report two cases of postoperative infection of pathological femoral fracture after radiation therapy for soft tissue tumors. Considering the poor condition of the irradiated site, a two-staged operation was selected to create the optimal situation for bone union. The treatment involved the Masquelet technique, latissimus dorsi (LD) flap, and a free vascularized fibula graft (FVFG). In the first stage, we drastically resected the necrotic bone and the surrounding infected tissue and placed antibiotic polymethylmethacrylate space on the bone gap according to the Masquelet technique. Next, we used an Ilizarov external fixator as a temporizing stabilizer and performed the LD flap. Six weeks later, in the second stage, we changed the external fixation to plate fixation; packed the artificial bone (β-TCP) and autograft bone to the induced membrane; and performed FVFG on the other side of the plate. As postoperative therapy, toe touch was allowed immediately, and partial weight bearing was started 2 months after second surgery.

Results

Both patients achieved bone union and were able to walk without postoperative complications. At the 2-year follow-up, there was no recurrence of infection.

Conclusion

Our treatment is effective for controlling postoperative infection of radiation-induced pathological fracture.

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Correspondence to Taichi Saito.

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Approval for this study was obtained from the Ethics of Human Experiments Committee at Okayama University Graduate school of Medicine, Okayama, Japan.

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Written informed consent was obtained from all individual patients for publication of this case report.

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Matsuhashi, M., Saito, T., Noda, T. et al. Treatment for postoperative infection of pathological femoral fracture after radiotherapy: two case reports and review of the literature. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00402-020-03493-5

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Keywords

  • Radiation-induced pathological fracture
  • Masquelet technique
  • Induced membrane
  • Bone lengthening