Is nonoperative treatment of pediatric type I open fractures safe and effective?

Ahmed A. Bazzi, Jaysson T. Brooks, Amit Jain, Michael C. Ain, John E. Tis, Paul D. Sponseller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose: There is limited literature on nonoperative treatment of open type I pediatric fractures. Our purpose was to evaluate the rate of infection in pediatric patients with type I open fractures treated nonoperatively at our institution without admission from the emergency department (ED).

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all patients who sustained a type I open fracture of the forearm or tibia from 2000 through 2013. Forty patients fit the inclusion criteria: <18 years old with type I open fracture treated nonoperatively with irrigation and debridement, followed by closed reduction and casting of the fracture under conscious sedation in the ED. All patients were discharged home. The primary outcome was presence of infection. Secondary outcomes included occurrence of a delayed union, time to union, complications, and residual angulation.

Results: There were no reported or documented infections. There was one case of a retained foreign body (<1 cm) in a mid-diaphyseal forearm fracture, which was removed in clinic at 4 weeks after the patient developed a granuloma with no infectious sequela. There was one case of a delayed union; all patients eventually had complete bony union. There was minimal residual angulation in both upper and lower extremities at last follow-up.

Conclusions: Nonoperative treatment of type I open fractures in pediatric patients can be performed safely with little risk of infection. This preliminary evidence may serve as a foundation for future prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-471
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Children's Orthopaedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 3 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Nonoperative management of open fracture
  • Pediatric forearm fracture
  • Pediatric open fracture
  • Pediatric tibia fracture
  • Type I open fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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