This study was designed to evaluate whether the use of a new femoral nail, specifically designed to be inserted through the greater trochanter, could eliminate the complications previously seen with insertion of straight nails through this entry portal for the treatment of femoral shaft fractures.
Prospective, clinical trial.
Three level I trauma centers.
Sixty-one consecutive patients with femoral shaft fractures (50 closed and 11 open fractures) treated with antegrade nailing with insertion through the greater trochanter.
All patients were treated in the supine position with a TAN nail (Trigen System, Smith & Nephew, Memphis, TN) inserted through the greater trochanter.
Main Outcome Measure:
Union, alignment, complications, and hip function.
Forty-six of 57 (81%) surviving patients were available for follow-up at a minimum of 12 (range, 12-25) months. Union occurred in all but 1 fracture after the index procedure. No patient sustained iatrogenic fracture comminution, and there were no angular malunions. Pain was reported as slight in 6 patients and moderate in 2. Visual and videotaped gate analysis, performed on 24 patients, revealed symmetrical walking in 21.
This study demonstrates that antegrade nailing of femoral shaft fractures with a specially designed nail inserted through a trochanteric starting point provides predictably high union rates and low rates of complications. Ease of entry and utility in patients with a large body habitus are advantages over conventional piriformis fossa entry techniques. Nailing through the greater trochanter with the patient supine is presently our treatment of choice for patients with femoral shaft fractures.