INTRODUCTION: Carbon fiber reinforced (CFR) implants have been proposed for the treatment of fractures or impending fractures of the long bones in the oncology patient. Aim of this study is to present the largest cohort of oncology patients operated by CFR nailing by the Italian Orthopaedic Society (SIOT) Bone Metastasis Study Group.
METHODS: 53 adult oncology patients were operated on with a CFR-PEEK nail. All the data from adjuvants therapies were collected. Bone callus formation, response to radiotherapy, relapse or progression of the osteolysis were recorded. Hardware survival and failure, breakage and need for implant revision were also analysed.
RESULTS: Anatomical implantation of nails include humerus (n = 35), femur (n =11) and tibia (n = 7). The most frequent tumors affecting the bone were myeloma (n = 13), breast (n = 11), lung (n = 8), and renal cell cancer (n = 7). Acrylic cement reinforcement was used in 2 patients. One patient was subjected to electrochemotherapy after nail insertion. Intraoperative and early postoperative complications occurred in 13.2% and 7.54% of patients respectively. Eight patients had local progression and one developed a stress fracture proximally to the distal static screw. Radiographic union occurred in 14 patients; one screw loosening was recorded.
DISCUSSION: There is currently a lack of solid evidence on the clinical use of CFR nails in oncologic patients. This is the first and largest study of CFR nailing, with the longest available follow up.
CONCLUSIONS: Implant related complications and surgery-related morbidity should be taken into account in the decision-making process for the surgical management of these patients. These data can improve the surgeon-patient communication and guide further studies on patients' survival and complications with respect to surgery.