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01.06.2014 | Review Article | Ausgabe 3/2014

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery 3/2014

Pertrochanteric fractures: tips and tricks in nail osteosynthesis

European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery > Ausgabe 3/2014
A. H. Ruecker, J. M. Rueger



Intramedullary fixation of intertrochanteric fractures has become the standard method of fixation especially in unstable fracture types. Even though there have been developments on implant design and technology, the surgical technique of reduction and implant positioning remains the mandatory factor in treating these fractures successfully. The advantages of nailing in the mainly elderly patients sustaining intertrochanteric femur fractures are a short lever arm and a lateral support in the trochanter supplied by the nail. The disadvantages are that it is often harder to achieve a closed reduction of a displaced fracture and to maintain the reduction with the intramedullary implant.

Tips and tricks

To obtain and maintain anatomic reduction and a secure fracture fixation, the surgical approach and fixation technique is of great importance. It starts with correct patient positioning, fracture reduction (accounting for varus dislocation and dislocation of flexed fragments), choosing the correct nail entry point and perfect lag screw positioning within the head-neck fragment and distal locking. To maintain the reduction achieved intraoperatively, the decision has to be made to use a cerclage wiring or to tolerate fracture gaps in the metaphyseal area. Intraoperative controlled compression of the neck or the subtrochanteric area is of great importance to reduce delayed unions or nonunions.


Intramedullary fixation of unstable per-, inter- or subtrochanteric fractures shows biomechanical advantages compared to extramedullry fixation techniques. Even though there have been several amendments and developments of implants, a better implant does not compensate for an inadequate surgical approach or deficient surgical techniques which are paramount for successful treatment. When fixing fractures with intramedullary nailing systems, the surgeon should always try to achieve anatomic reduction and a perfect implant positioning to allow immediate full weight bearing without an increased risk of cut-out, non-union and implant failure.

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