Correlation between tibial nail length and olecrenon to 5th metacarpal head measurement: An anthropometric study

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Chinese Journal of Traumatology - English Edition


Purpose: During fracture fixation, the size of tibial nail is a vital factor affecting the outcomes and thus preoperative estimation of tibial nail length is very important. This study aims to find out whether “olecranon to 5th metacarpal head” (O-MH) measurement can be used to reliably predict the tibial nail length. Methods: This was a cross sectional study involving 100 volunteers. Measurements were done and recorded by two observers on two separate occasions. Tibial nail length estimation measurement was done from highest point of tibial tuberosity to the tip of the medial malleolus (TT-MM). O-MH measurement was taken from tip of olecranon to the tip of 5th metacarpal head with wrist in neutral position and hand clenched. Statistical analysis was done to find out correlation between two measurements and influence of age, gender and body mass index on them. Results: Paired t-test showed no systematic error between the readings. Intraclass correlation coefficient showed strong agreement in inter and intra observer settings. Strong correlation was found between the TT-MM & O-MH measurements using Pearson's correlation coefficient test (r = 0.966). Hierarchical regression analysis showed age, gender and BMI have no statistically significant bearings on these measurements and their correlations. Conclusion: O-MH measurement is a useful and accurate means of estimating tibial nail length preoperatively.

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