Background: For more than thirty-five years, the sliding hip screw, an extramedullary implant, has been the standard treatment for the stabilization of intertrochanteric fractures. Over the last decade, intramedullary implants have replaced extramedullary implants as the most commonly used type of implant in the United States for the treatment of this condition, without strong evidence of superior outcomes.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study with use of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) database. Patients seventy years of age or older who had sustained an intertrochanteric fracture treated with extramedullary or intramedullary implant during 2009 to 2012 were identified. General surgical outcomes were compared between implant types, with adjustment for demographic data and comorbidities.
Results: A total of 4432 patients were identified; 1612 (36.4%) were treated with an extramedullary implant, and 2820 (63.6%) with an intramedullary implant. The rates of the composite outcomes “serious adverse events” and “any adverse events” did not differ by implant type. The mean postoperative length of stay was shorter for patients treated with an intramedullary implant compared with those treated with an extramedullary implant (5.4 compared with 6.5 days; p < 0.001). Operation time, operating room time, and the rate of hospital readmission did not differ by implant type.
Conclusions: These results reinforce the results of previous randomized trials, demonstrating little difference in rates of general surgical adverse events between implant types. The present study presents an important departure from previous trials in its finding that patients treated with intramedullary implants have, on average, a shorter postoperative length of stay (by 1.1 days). The finding may negate the perceived excess cost associated with intramedullary treatment. Limitations regarding the ACS NSQIP database include a lack of detail regarding fracture subtype, outcomes beyond thirty days, and orthopaedic-specific outcomes.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Yale School of Medicine, 800 Howard Avenue, New Haven, CT 06510. E-mail address for J.N. Grauer: email@example.com.