To prevent leg length discrepancy (LLD) after locked femoral nailing in patients with comminuted femoral shaft fractures.
Prospective consecutive case series aimed at quality improvement.
Level 1 Trauma Center
Ninety-eight consecutive patients with a comminuted femoral shaft fracture underwent statically locked intramedullary nailing, with a focused attempt at minimizing LLD during surgery.
A computed tomography scanogram of both legs was performed on postoperative day 1 to assess for residual LLD. Patients were offered the option to have LLD >1.5 cm corrected before discharge.
Main Outcome Measure:
LLD >1.5 cm.
Twenty-one patients (21.4%) were found to have an LLD >1.5 cm. An LLD >1.5 cm occurred in 10/55 (18%) antegrade nail patients and 11/43 (26%) retrograde nail patients (P = 0.27). No difference was noted based on the mechanism of injury, surgeon training and OTA/AO type B versus C injury. Ninety of 98 patients left with <1.5 cm LLD, 13/21 had a correction all to ≤0.6 cm, and 8 decided to accept the LLD and declined early correction.
No patient left the hospital with an LLD >1.5 cm after locked intramedullary nailing for a comminuted femoral shaft fracture without being informed and the option of early correction. We recommend using a full-length computed tomography scanogram after IM nailing of comminuted femur fractures to prevent iatrogenic LLD.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.