Acquired Boneless Forearm as a Complication of Traditional Bone Setting

Ogunlusi, J, Oluwadiya K, Ogunlusi O, Oginni L, Oyedeji O, Ibigbami O.  2008.  Acquired Boneless Forearm as a Complication of Traditional Bone Setting, 2008/04/01. 31:288.


An 8-year-old girl sustained closed fracture of the right ulna 10 weeks prior to presentation. She was taken to a traditional bone setter who applied a tight splint. The patient reported pain, but the splint was not removed. A week after application of the splint, a foul odor was detected and removal of the splint showed extensive exposure of the forearm bones. Above elbow amputation was rejected by the patient's parents when she was taken to hospital, where she was admitted for 8 weeks by a second traditional bone setter. A trained nurse applied herbal concoctions and dressed the wound daily in anticipation that the skin would cover the exposed bone fragments. She was brought to our hospital for wound dressing so that the skin would cover the exposed bones fragments. Examination revealed a grossly shortened right forearm--by 7 cm compared with her left--extensive exposure of both radius and ulna at the anterior aspect of the forearm, and loss of sensation and movement of the fingers. Radiographs showed sequestrated radius and ulna with involucrum around the olecranon process. Above elbow amputation was offered to the patient but the parents again declined. The forearm bones detached while scrubbing the wound for review and removal of the sequestrated bone. The wound healed within one and a half weeks of dressing, resulting in an acquired boneless forearm.