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November 12, 1973

Medical News

JAMA. 1973;226(7):729-740. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230070001001

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Unsettled question: best method of dealing with broken long bones  Orthopedists generally agree that internal fixation of long bone fractures promotes healing, provided the broken ends are properly aligned. But which is better—rigid fixation or a compression plate that forces the ends of the bone together?It's possible to get up quite a lively argument on the subject. Some investigators believe that compression actively promotes healing, while others claim that axial forces on the fracture site actually can cause local necrosis, resulting in a weak union or none at all.A young San Francisco orthopedic surgeon has tried to reconcile the two views, finding merit in each case and uses for each technique. His paper on the subject won him second prize in the Meyerding Essay Award at the recent meeting of the American Fracture Association in Montreal. (The awards are presented annually to orthopedic residents who have done distinguished research