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Open Tibial Shaft Fractures: I

Evaluation and Initial Wound Management

Open fractures of the tibial diaphysis are often associated with severe bone and soft-tissue injury. Contamination of the fracture site and devitalization of the soft-tissue envelope greatly increase the risk of infection, nonunion, and wound complications. Management of open tibial shaft fractures begins with a thorough patient evaluation, including assessment of the bone and soft tissue surrounding the tibial injury. Classification of these injuries according to the system of Gustilo and Anderson at the time of surgical débridement is useful in guiding treatment and predicting outcomes. Administration of antibiotic prophylaxis as soon as possible after injury as well as urgent and thorough débridement, irrigation, and bony stabilization are done to minimize the risk of infection and improve outcomes. The use of antibiotic bead pouches and negative-pressure wound therapy has proved to be efficacious for the acute, temporary management of severe bone and soft-tissue defects.

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Open Tibial Shaft Fractures: II

Definitive Management and Limb Salvage

Definitive treatment of open fractures of the tibial diaphysis is challenging. The high-energy nature of these fractures, as well as the contamination of the fracture site and devitalization of the softtissue envelope, greatly increases the risk of infection, nonunion, and wound complications. The goals of definitive treatment include wound coverage or closure; prevention of infection; restoration of length, alignment, rotation, and stability; fracture healing; and return of function. Advances in orthobiologics, modern plastic surgical techniques, and fracture stabilization methods, most notably locked intramedullary nailing, have led to improved prognosis for functional recovery and limb salvage. Despite improved union and limb salvage rates, the prognosis for severe type III open fracture of the tibial shaft remains guarded, and outcomes are often determined by patient psychosocial variables.

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Patellar Fractures in Adults

Patellar fracture is a common injury caused by excessive tension through the extensor mechanism or a direct blow. The intact patella increases the leverage and efficiency of the extensor mechanism and articulates with the femoral trochlea. Patellar fractures can lead to stiffness, extension weakness, and patellofemoral arthritis. Nonsurgical management is indicated for nondisplaced fractures with an intact extensor mechanism. Surgical fixation is recommended for fractures that either disrupt the extensor mechanism or demonstrate >2 to 3 mm step-off and >1 to 4 mm of displacement. Anatomic reduction and fixation with a tension-band technique is associated with the best outcomes; however, symptomatic hardware is a frequent complication. Open fractures are associated with more complications than closed fractures. These complications can be mitigated with timely débridement, irrigation, and internal fixation.

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Tranexamic Acid in Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Perioperative blood loss is a significant concern for patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty. A growing body of evidence has shown tranexamic acid (TXA) to be effective in decreasing perioperative blood loss and transfusion requirements in both primary and revision hip and knee arthroplasty. TXA is a synthetic drug that limits blood loss through inhibition of fibrinolysis and clot degradation. Both topical and intravenous administration of TXA, in a variety of dosing regimens, has proven effective. Further investigation is required to determine the optimal dose and dosing regimens; however, evidence exists to recommend an initial intravenous dose be given before beginning the procedure, with at least one additional intravenous dose administered postoperatively. Additionally, topical TXA doses .2 g appear to be more efficacious than lower doses. Finally, relatively few adverse reactions have been reported in arthroplasty patients, and no study to date has demonstrated an increased risk of symptomatic venous thromboembolic events in this patient population.

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