Nevin Manimala Statistics

Treatment of Infected Tibial Metaphyseal Nonunions Using the Ilizarov Method: Protocol for a Prospective Nonrandomized Study

JMIR Res Protoc. 2022 Dec 29;11(12):e39319. doi: 10.2196/39319.


BACKGROUND: The management of infected metaphyseal nonunion of the tibia is devastating, especially when associated with significant bone loss, poor soft tissues, draining sinuses, axial deformity, knee or ankle joint stiffness, limb discrepancy, and multiresisted pathogens. A systematic review, performed recently by the primary investigators but not yet published, yielded the lack of studies in the field and the huge heterogeneity of the presented results. We found several bias and controversies such as no clear definition of the exact part of the tibia where the nonunion was located, the pathogen causing the fracture-related infection, the number of previous interventions and time to presentation, and the exact type of treatment methods including the use of muscle flaps or bone grafting. Time to final union as a functional score is another important but missing data.

OBJECTIVE: The proposed study is designed to evaluate a sufficient number of patients with infected metaphyseal tibial nonunions using various general health, functional, and bone scores.

METHODS: This prospective clinical trial study, with a minimum follow-up period of 36 months, focuses on the effectiveness of the Ilizarov method after radical nonunion debridement and targeted antibiotic therapy in patients with infected metaphyseal tibial nonunions. The primary outcomes would be the definite healing of nonunion and infection-free results. Secondary outcomes would be limb alignment and discrepancy, alteration in the patient’s quality of life, and functional results. A power analysis calculated a minimum of 11 patients to obtain statistical power, but we aim to include at least 25 patients. Limb discrepancy, clinical validation of infection eradication and fracture healing, radiographic validation, and patient-reported outcome measures will be highlighted and correlated. Statistical analysis of the results will offer data missing from the literature so far. Measurements are scheduled at specific times for each patient: preoperatively, 3 and 6 months postoperatively, 1 month after Ilizarov frame removal, and once per semester afterward until the end of the follow-up period (minimum 36 months). Laboratory evaluation will be assessed once per month. Any complication will be reported and treated when it occurs.

RESULTS: The trial has already started. It was funded in June 2020. As of May 2022, 19 participants have been recruited and no major complications have been noticed yet. Data analysis will be performed after data collection ends, and results will be published afterward.

CONCLUSIONS: An infected metaphyseal tibial nonunion is a rare condition with limited treatment options and many controversies. There is no consensus in the literature about the best treatment strategy, and this lack of evidence should be fulfilled.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) 30905788;


PMID:36580353 | DOI:10.2196/39319

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