Interlocking intramedullary nailing for ipsilateral fractures of the femoral shaft and distal part of the femur

M. S. Butler, R. J. Brumback, T. S. Ellison, A. Poka, G. H. Bathon, A. R. Burgess

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A review of the data on 684 fractures of the femur that had been treated with intramedullary nailing led to the identification of twenty-three patients who had had a fracture of the shaft of the femur with an accompanying ipsilateral supracondylar fracture (twelve patients, group I) or a concomitant ipsilateral intercondylar fracture (eleven patients, group II). The group-I fractures had been treated with interlocking nailing without supplemental fixation. In group II, ten fractures were stabilized with interlocking nailing and supplemental screw fixation and one, with interlocking nailing and a supplemental plate and screws. The average time to union for all fractures was nineteen weeks (range, twelve to thirty-six weeks), and the average duration of clinical and radiographic follow-up was thirty months (range, nine to fifty-nine months). In group I, alignment of the femur was within 5 degrees of normal in ten of the twelve fractures. In group II, seven intra-articular fractures healed in anatomical alignment, three had slight articular displacement (1.0 to 3.0 millimeters), and one had displacement of more than 3.0 millimeters. The average range of motion of the knee at the most recent follow-up was 0 to 120 degrees in group I and 0 to 115 degrees in group II. Two patients (both in group II) needed a reoperation for a previously unrecognized fracture of a femoral condyle in the coronal plane; post-traumatic arthritis developed in both. No patient in either group had loss of fixation or failure of the implant. We concluded that ipsilateral diaphyseal, supracondylar, and intercondylar fractures of the femur can be adequately stabilized with interlocking nailing and supplemental intercondylar screw fixation. The presence of a fracture in the coronal plane of a femoral condyle (AO type-3 and type-C3 injuries) is a relative contraindication to the use of this technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1502
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - Series A
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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