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The Treatment of Intertrochanteric Fractures: Results Using an Intramedullary Nail With Integrated Cephalocervical Screws and Linear Compression

Ruecker, Andreas H MD; Rupprecht, M MD; Gruber, M MD; Gebauer, M MD; Barvencik, F MD; Briem, D MD, PhD; Rueger, J M MD

Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma: January 2009 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 22-30
doi: 10.1097/BOT.0b013e31819211b2
Original Article

Objective: A new device for the treatment of intertrochanteric fractures that uses 2 cephalocervical screws in an integrated mechanism allowing linear intraoperative compression and rotational stability of the head/neck fragment has been developed. The aim of this study was to describe the results using this device for the treatment of stable and unstable intertrochanteric fractures.

Design: Prospective, consecutive.

Setting: Academic Trauma Center.

Methods: Between March 1, 2005, and July 31, 2006, 100 consecutive patients with an intertrochanteric fracture were treated with a new trochanteric antegrade nail (InterTan; Smith-Nephew, Memphis, TN). All living patients were followed up for a minimum of 1 year postoperatively (range 12-27 months). Clinical and radiographic examinations were performed until healing and at the 1-year anniversary of the index procedure. Healing, pain with ambulation, return to activities of daily living, the modified Harris hip score, and Barthel Index were used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 81.2 (±11.3) years. Thirty-seven patients died, 12 were too infirmed for follow-up, and 3 could not be located, leaving 48 patients available for final evaluation. The average surgical time was 41 minutes (13-95 minutes). This rose significantly with the complexity of the fracture (OTA/AO classification: A1 versus A3, P = 0.016). All fractures healed within 16 weeks (range 10-16 weeks). Radiographic analysis at healing revealed no loss of reduction, no uncontrolled collapse of the neck, no nonunions, no femoral shaft fractures, and no implant failures. Two cases in the series were poorly reduced and settled into varus malalignment. There was no varus malposition seen in the remaining 46 fractures. The mean prefracture Harris hip score (75.1 ± 13.4) was significantly reduced at the time of follow-up (70.3 ± 14.5, P = 0.003); 58% of the patients recovered their prefracture status. No significant difference was seen for the Barthel Index.

Conclusions: The InterTan device appears to be a reliable implant for the treatment of intertrochanteric femoral fractures. Its design provides for stability against rotation and minimizes neck malunions (shortening) through linear intraoperative compression of the head/neck segment to the shaft. As a result of the negligible complication rate and improved clinical outcomes, this implant is now the standard treatment for all intertrochanteric fractures at our institution.

From the Department of Trauma, Hand, and Reconstructive Surgery, Hamburg University Hospital, Hamburg, Germany.

Accepted for publication October 21, 2008.

The authors did not receive any financial support related to this study.

The device that is the subject of this study is Food and Drug Administration approved.

Reprints: Andreas H. Ruecker, MD, Department of Trauma, Hand, and Reconstructive Surgery, Hamburg University Hospital, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.