Comparison of delayed and primary wound closure in the treatment of open tibial fractures

Hohmann, E, Tetsworth, K, Radziejowski, MJ and Wiesniewski, TF (2007) Comparison of delayed and primary wound closure in the treatment of open tibial fractures. Archives of Orthopaedic And Trauma Surgery, 127 2: 131-136. doi:10.1007/s00402-006-0222-6

Author Hohmann, E
Tetsworth, K
Radziejowski, MJ
Wiesniewski, TF
Title Comparison of delayed and primary wound closure in the treatment of open tibial fractures
Journal name Archives of Orthopaedic And Trauma Surgery   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0936-8051
Publication date 2007-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00402-006-0222-6
Volume 127
Issue 2
Start page 131
End page 136
Total pages 6
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Subject 110323 Surgery
Formatted abstract
Primary wound closure in the management of open tibial fractures has generally been discouraged. Several prior studies suggest that infections are not caused by the initial contamination, but are instead the result of organisms acquired in the hospital. Primary wound closure after adequate wound care and fracture stabilisation could therefore be considered a reasonable option.

Materials and methods
We analysed 95 patients with open tibial fractures (Gustilo–Anderson type 1 to 3A) treated with primary fracture stabilisation and either delayed wound closure (group I) or primary wound closure (group II), with a minimum follow-up of 12 months.


Group I included 46 patients with a mean age of 30.2 years (16–56), and a mean follow-up of 13.5 months (12–18). Group II included 49 patients with a mean age of 33.4 (18–69), and a mean follow up of 13.7 months (12–16). One infection developed in group I (2%), and two infections developed in group II (4%). This difference was not found to have any statistical significance.


Our results support other recent reports that the infection rate is not increased following primary wound closure after thorough debridement of less severe open fractures. The length of stay following primary closure (group II) was significantly shorter, and that should result in substantially more cost effective care of these serious injuries. We conclude that primary wound closure is a safe option in properly selected cases. Prospective multi-centre studies are needed to further evaluate the safety and efficacy of this treatment alternative.

Keyword Orthopedics
open fracture
tibia fracture
primary wound closure
delayed wound closure
Shaft Fractures
Q-Index Code C1
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 16:04:26 EST