Are smokers a risk group for delayed healing of tibial shaft fractures?
A total of 135 patients with a fresh tibial shaft fracture and with no other significant injuries underwent primary conservative treatment. Data on their smoking habits were obtained from hospital records and by questionnaire. Although the smokers had better prospects for healing of the fracture at the outset than non-smokers (lower mean age and less fractures caused by high-energy injuries), the smokers were found to have a significantly longer mean time to clinical union and a higher incidence of delayed union. According to a crude calculation, smokers had a 4.1-fold risk of tibial shaft fracture caused by low-energy injury, compared with non-smokers. An accelerated failure time model showed that the more comminuted or open the fracture, the higher the number of cigarettes smoked and the older the patient, the longer was the time to clinical union of the tibial shaft fracture. Female sex appeared to be a further risk factor for delayed healing. A logit model indicated that comminutio