Research Article| Volume 33, ISSUE 9, P743-749, November 2002

Problem fractures associated with gunshot wounds in children


      Twenty-seven fractures in 22 children (14 female, 8 male; average age: 10.5) who suffered gunshot wounds were retrospectively evaluated. Fourteen of the fractures were caused by high-velocity weapons, four by low-velocity weapons, and nine by shotguns. One of the fractures was undisplaced, two were displaced, 10 were comminuted, seven were comminuted and displaced, and seven had bony defects. Accompanying pathologies included four physeal, three articular, four visceral, four arterial, six peripheral nerve, and one spinal cord injury. Initial treatment involved external fixation in 15 patients and internal fixation in one patient for bone stabilization, while the remaining patients were treated conservatively.
      Late-stage surgery was necessary to achieve soft-tissue coverage in three patients and to achieve union in six patients. Major complications included amputation in one patient, non-union in two, delayed union in one, osteomyelitis in one, paraplegia in one, and loss of peripheral nerve functions in three.
      The treatment of fractures associated with firearm injuries in children is never simple. Fracture defects, accompanying peripheral nerve damage and involvement of the joint negatively is affect the outcome, increasing the chance that late-stage surgery will be necessary. Internal bone transport appears to be an efficacious technique in the treatment of bone and soft-tissue defects associated with firearm injuries in children.
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