Treatment of long bone intramedullary infection using the RIA for removal of infected tissue: indications, method and clinical results.

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Treatment of intramedullary infections of long bones is based upon the principles of surgical debridement, irrigation, fracture site stabilization, soft tissue coverage, and antibiotic administration. Reaming of the medullary canal is an essential component of surgical debridement because it removes intramedullary debris and infected bone surrounding the removed intramedullary device and within the intramedullary canal. The Reamer-Irrigator-Aspirator (RIA) has distinct features that appear to be beneficial for management of intramedullary infections. It allows reaming under simultaneous irrigation and aspiration, which minimizes the residual amount of infected fluid and tissue in the medullary canal and the propagation of infected material. The disposable reamer head is sharp, which combined with the continuous irrigation may attenuate the increased temperature associated with reaming and its potential adverse effects on adjacent endosteal bone. The disadvantage of the RIA is increased cost because of use of disposable parts. Potential complications can be avoided by detailed preoperative planning and careful surgical technique. The RIA should be used with caution in patients with narrow medullary canals and in infections involving the metaphysis or a limited part of the medullary canal. Reaming of the canal is performed with one pass of the RIA under careful fluoroscopic control. Limited information is available in the literature on the results of the RIA for management of intramedullary infections of long bones; however preliminary results are promising. The RIA device appears to be an effective and safe tool for debridement of the medullary canal and management of intramedullary infections of the long bones. Further research is needed to clarify the exact contribution of the RIA in the management of these infections.


41 Suppl 2

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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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