Reaming Does Not Affect Functional Outcomes after Open and Closed Tibial Shaft Fractures: The Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial

Carol A. Lin, Marc Swiontkowski, Mohit Bhandari, Stephen D. Walter, Emil H. Schemitsch, David Sanders, Paul Tornetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to determine the effect of reaming on 1-year 36-item short-form general health survey (SF-36) and short musculoskeletal function assessment (SMFA) scores from the Study to Prospectively Evaluate Reamed Intramedullary Nails in patients with Tibial Fractures. Design: Prospective randomized controlled trial.1319 patients were randomized to reamed or unreamed nails. Fractures were categorized as open or closed. Setting: Twenty-nine academic and community health centers across the US, Canada, and the Netherlands. Patients/Participants: One thousand three hundred and nineteen skeletally mature patients with closed and open diaphyseal tibia fractures. Intervention: Reamed versus unreamed tibial nails. Main Outcome Measurements: SF-36 and the SMFA. Outcomes were obtained during the initial hospitalization to reflect preinjury status, and again at the 2-week, 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year follow-up. Repeated measures analyses were performed with P < 0.05 considered significant. Results: There were no differences between the reamed and unreamed groups at 12 months for either the SF-36 physical component score [42.9 vs. 43.4, P 0.54, 95% Confidence Interval for the difference (CI) -2.1 to 1.1] or the SMFA dysfunction index (18.0 vs. 17.6, P 0.79. 95% CI, -2.2 to 2.9). At one year, functional outcomes were significantly below baseline for the SF-36 physical componentf score, SMFA dysfunction index, and SMFA bothersome index (P < 0.001). Time and fracture type were significantly associated with functional outcome. Conclusions: Reaming does not affect functional outcomes after intramedullary nailing for tibial shaft fractures. Patients with open fractures have worse functional outcomes than those with a closed injury. Patients do not reach their baseline function by 1 year after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • functional
  • intramedullary
  • reamed
  • tibia fracture
  • unreamed


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