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orthopaedic surgeons

Case 3: Tibial Non-union

Written by: Dr F Birkholtz

This 30 year old gentleman presented with a tibial fracture that did not want to unite after a two year period. This is called a non-union. The patient was desperate to have this treated and to get on with his life!

Click on the image to enlarge


The Xrays:

The xrays show the ununited fracture of the distal tibia. This is an unacceptable situation, as the patient cannot put any weight on the leg without severe pain. For obvious reasons this is debilitating. It is also obvious that the nonunion is angulated (ie deformed). The patient has had previous unsuccessful surgery.


Here we can see an Ilizarov fixator being applied to our patient’s leg. By just stabilizing and straightening the patient’s tibia, it went on to uneventful healing in record time, without the need for open surgery. Our patient was extremely happy to be able to return to work.