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Overgrowth of the femur after fracture of the shaft in childhood

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Twenty-six children conservatively treated for fracture of the femoral shaft have been reviewed with regard to differences in limb length seven to ten years after the injury. In nine patients the clinical measurements were checked against radiographic measurements of both femora and tibiae. The following conclusions were reached. Nearly two-thirds of the patients had overgrowth of the femur of 10 millimetres or more. Shortening of 15 to 20 millimetres at the fracture site was well compensated for by accelerated growth. Growth acceleration seemed to take place during the healing period and the difference at the end of healing was permanent. Overgrowth was promoted by comminuted and long oblique fractures and by overriding of the fracture ends, but was not influenced by the age at fracture, the duration of treatment or the level of fracture of the shaft. Growth of the tibia was not affected by the femoral fracture.

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