Article

The Management of Pediatric Subtrochanteric Femur Fractures With a Statically Locked Intramedullary Nail

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Abstract

Objectives: To evaluate locked intramedullary (IM) fixation as an alternative treatment method for children with subtrochanteric fractures. Design: Retrospective review. Setting: Level 1 trauma center in a Children's Hospital. Patients/participants: Pediatric patients with subtrochanteric femur fractures with open growth plates. Intervention: All patients were treated with a lateral entry IM locking nail. Outcome measurements: Patients were followed until full fracture consolidation or until implant removal. Data on time to full weight bearing, return to full activity, residual pain, any form of gait abnormality, and any other complication from follow-up visits were collected. Results: There were 9 males and 1 female patient with an average age of 12 years and average follow-up of 22 months. Most of the fractures occurred secondary to high-energy trauma. Partial weight bearing was started at 24 days and full at 66 days. Implants were removed on average at 11 months after implantation. There were neither intraoperative complications nor major complications in the postoperative period recorded after removal. Two patients presented with a longer limb on the affected side, both 8 mm, and 2 presented with asymptomatic grade I heterotopic ossification. Conclusions: The use of a statically locked lateral entry IM nail for subtrochanteric femur fractures in children is a safe and efficacious method of treatment with few complications and risks and satisfactory outcomes in children over the age of 8 years. Level of evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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... As such, intermedullary nail systems have gained wide popularity and are recognized as the preferred internal fixation option for subtrochanteric fractures. [34][35][36][37] The Gamma Nail, a relatively new intramedullary nail system, was introduced by Grosse in the 1990s. [19,38,39] The Gamma Nail system consists of a lag screw and a rod to overcome problems in sliding-screw fixations, and has superior efficacy in the fixation of intertrochanteric and subtrochanteric fracture. ...
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The aim of this study was to clinically compare the therapeutic effects of internal fixation using a third-generation Gamma Long Nail (TGLN) with that of INTERTAN in the treatment of Seinsheimer Type V subtrochanteric femoral fractures in elderly patients.The therapeutic effect of internal fixation with TGLN, compared with that with INTERTAN, was retrospectively analyzed in elderly patients diagnosed with Seinsheimer Type V subtrochanteric fracture. Twenty-five cases were divided into 2 groups based on the fixation devices: the TGLN group (13 cases; 5 men and 8 women) and the INTERTAN group (12 cases; 5 men and 7 women). Patients were followed up postoperatively, and their clinical history, intraoperative blood loss, fracture healing, Harris Hip Scores, and postoperative complications were recorded and compared.Patients in the TGLN group had shorter operation time and less intraoperative blood loss, compared with those in the INTERTAN group (P < .05). There were no significant between-group differences in postoperative complications, fracture healing time and Harris Hip Scores during the follow-up (P > .05).
... 20 Improvements in the design of locked nails to allow smaller nails to be inserted, along with avoidance of ;osteonecrosis of the femoral head afforded by a lateral entry approach, may be other explanations for the growing popularity of this form of fixation in younger patients. 21,22 In a concurrent, retrospective study from 2007 to 2012 of patients treated for femoral fractures at a single center, Oetgen et al 23 analyzed the results of 361 patients to determine adherence to the CPG. They found the AAOS publication of CPG had little clinical impact at that institution; they also found a significant decrease in flexible nailing in ages 5 to 11. ...
Article
Background: To determine if the AAOS clinical practice guidelines (CPG) for the treatment of pediatric femoral shaft fractures (2009) changed treatment, we analyzed pediatric femoral shaft fractures at 4 high-volume, geographically separated, level-1 pediatric trauma centers over a 10-year period (2004 to 2013). Methods: Consecutive series of pediatric femoral shaft fractures (ages, birth to 18 y) treated at the 4 centers were reviewed. Treatment methods were analyzed by age and treatment method for each center and in aggregate. Results: Of 2646 fractures, 1476 (55.8%) were treated nonoperatively and 1170 fractures operatively. Of the operative group, flexible intramedullary nails (IMN) were used for 568 patients (21.5%), locked intramedullary nails (LIMNs) for 309 (11.7%), and plating for 188 (7.1%). In total, 105 fractures were treated with external fixation or skeletal traction. Analysis before and after the CPG publication revealed a significant increase in the use of interlocked IMNs in patients younger than 11 years (0.5% before, 3.8% after; P<0.001). Over the same time period there was an increase in surgical management, regardless of technique, for patients younger than 5 years (6.4% before, 8.4% after; P=0.206). There were considerable differences in treatment among centers: 74% of fractures treated with plating were from a single center (center A), which also contributed 68% of patients younger than 5 years treated with plating; center B had the highest rate (41%) of flexible IMN in children younger than 5 years; center C had the highest rate (63%) of LIMN in children younger than 11 years; and center D treated the fewest patients outside the CPG guidelines. Conclusions: Following publication of the AAOS CPG, there was a significant increase in the use of LIMNs in patients younger than 11 years old and a trend toward surgical treatment in patients younger than 5 years. The considerable variability among centers in treatment methods and adherence to the CPG highlights the need for further outcome studies to better define optimal treatment methods and perhaps update the AAOS CPG guidelines. Level of evidence: Level III-therapeutic.
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To determine whether the mechanical properties of first-generation interlocking femoral nails are different from those of second-generation interlocking femoral nails in a subtrochanteric femur fracture model. Randomized laboratory investigation using a synthetic subtrochanteric femur fracture model. Simulated stable and unstable fractures were created at three levels in the subtrochanteric region of synthetic femora. Instrumented specimens were tested elastically in a biomaterials testing system. Synthetic femora were instrumented with either a statically locked first-generation femoral nail or a statically locked second-generation femoral nail. Elastic stiffness for both the stable and unstable fracture groups was measured in both compression and torsion. Unstable fracture specimens were tested to failure in compression, and load to failure was measured. Throughout the subtrochanteric region, second-generation femoral nail constructs were consistently stiffer in compression and torsion than were statically locked first-generation femoral nail constructs. In general, second-generation constructs also withstood larger loads to failure in the unstable fracture model. Second-generation nails provided significantly enhanced mechanical stiffness compared with first-generation femoral nails when used to treat both stable and unstable subtrochanteric femur fractures. Although these results were obtained by using a well-controlled, mechanically consistent model, clinical validation of an increased incidence of fracture unions or of decreased time to union is required before we can recommend that second-generation nails be used routinely to treat subtrochantenic femur fractures.
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To determine the stiffness and strength characteristics of certain plate-composite femur models designed to simulate unstable subtrochanteric femur fractures (OTA 31-A2.3). Fifteen identical composite femora were osteotomized to produce like models of an unstable subtrochanteric femur fracture. The femora were fixed with either the Synthes 95 degree angled condylar blade plate, a 95 degree dynamic condylar screw plate (DCS), or a 135 degree dynamic compression hip screw (DHS). A materials testing machine was used to apply compression to the femoral head through an adapter plate. Stiffness values were calculated from the load-deformation curves obtained. The DHS-femur model was the stiffest (586 newtons/ millimeter), followed by the 95 degree DCS (404 newtons/millimeter) and the 95 degree condylar blade plate (260 newtons/ millimeter). The DHS also had the highest ultimate load-to-failure (4,877 newtons), followed by the 95 degree DCS (3,107 newtons) and the 95 degree condylar blade plate (2,272 newtons). All of these differences were statistically significant (p < 0.00001 ). Our findings suggest that the Synthes 95 degree DCS has greater stiffness and strength than the Synthes 95 degree condylar blade plate when tested in this model of an unstable subtrochanteric femur fracture. This model may not be completely appropriate for testing the 135 degree DHS because the hard plastic "cortex" of the model prevented cut-out of the screw.
Article
Thirty-seven femoral shaft fractures, in 33 patients, were treated with unilateral external fixation after reduction from 1992 through 1998. Ten girls and 23 boys ranged in age from 4 to 14 years. Thirteen children had multiple injuries, whereas 20 children had isolated fractures. Average follow-up was 3 years, 9 months, with only five children lost to follow-up. The average duration in fixator was 107 days. Thirty-six of 37 fractures healed, and there was one delayed union. There was minimal angulation, and limb-length inequality was generally <1 cm; 72.7% had pin-tract infections. Eight (21.6%) patients refractured; four occurred in the four patients with bilateral femur fractures. We agree with previous reports that external fixation remains a viable option for treatment of pediatric femoral shaft fractures. However, in our series, rate of refracture (21.6%) after removal of the external fixator is significantly higher than previously reported in literature. Children with bilateral femur fractures were at greatest risk.
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Traditionally, the treatment of choice in managing pediatric femur fractures has been traction and casting. Newer methods have focused on earlier mobility and shorter hospitalization. Use of retrograde titanium elastic nails (TENs) can quicken stabilization while allowing enough motion at the fracture site to generate excellent callus. Since TENs were first introduced in North America, our Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center has prospectively followed all of its TEN patients. In this article, we present lessons from the learning curve of our first 50 cases--focusing on complications and their prevention. In the course of obtaining predominately excellent results, we have learned several important principles regarding TEN preoperative planning, operative technique, and aftercare. The most common problem encountered has been irritation at the nail insertion site (18% of cases). Very proximal fractures may be more challenging; unstable fractures and fractures in larger, older children are best managed with a short period of adjunctive immobilization.
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Femoral shaft fractures are the most common major pediatric injuries managed by the orthopaedic surgeon. Management is influenced by associated injuries or multiple trauma, fracture personality, age, family issues, and cost. In addition, child abuse should be considered in a young child with a femoral fracture. Nonsurgical management, usually with early spica cast application, is preferred in younger children. Surgery is common for the school-age child and for patients with high-energy trauma. In the older child, traction followed by casting, external fixation, flexible intramedullary nails, and plate fixation have specific indications. The skeletally mature teenager is treated with rigid intramedullary fixation. Potential complications of treatment include shortening, angular and rotational deformity, delayed union, nonunion, compartment syndrome, overgrowth, infection, skin problems, and scarring. Risks of surgical management include refracture after external fixator or plate removal, osteonecrosis after rigid antegrade intramedullary nail fixation, and soft-tissue irritation caused by the ends of flexible nails.
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We conducted a small retrospective study of rates of early complications associated with external fixation of pediatric femur fractures and compared rates at our institution with those reported in the literature. In our series of 22 patients, early complications included 12 pin-track infections (54.5%), 2 cases of loss of reduction (9.1%), 1 pin-track abscess (4.5%), and 1 refracture (4.5%). Overall rates (ours combined with those reported by other investigators) were 4.7% (34/719) for refractures and 33.1% (224/677) for pin-track infections. Factors that correlated with refractures were open fracture, bilateral fracture, and longer time in fixator. Factors with inconclusive correlations were fracture pattern, dynamization status, fixator type, pin size, and number of pins.
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There have been no studies that have specifically looked at the management of subtrochanteric femoral fractures in skeletally immature adolescents. It was the purpose of this study to investigate the treatment of this injury in this unique patient population. A retrospective review of all subtrochanteric femoral fractures treated at a major pediatric trauma center since 1990 was performed. There were 13 adolescents with an average age of 13 years and 6 months. The average length of follow-up was 2 years and 3 months. Eight of the 10 operatively treated patients had a satisfactory result, whereas the outcome was unsatisfactory in all three patients treated nonoperatively. Complications included three limb-length discrepancies, one case of avascular necrosis of the femoral head, one transient peroneal nerve palsy, and one case of asymptomatic heterotopic ossification. At the time of most recent follow up, all had returned to preinjury level of function. Operative treatment provided more satisfactory results than nonoperative methods.
Article
Titanium elastic nailing (TEN) has become more common in the treatment of pediatric femur fractures in many European centers and in North America over the past several years. Prior studies have shown that the use of TEN for midshaft femur fractures results in excellent outcomes with an earlier return to activity, earlier mobilization, and a shortened hospital stay. However, subtrochanteric femur fractures continue to remain a difficult subset of fractures to care for, with loss of reduction and nonunion being significant complications. Studies have differed regarding the definition of pediatric subtrochanteric femur fractures. The purpose of this study is to establish a reproducible method of defining pediatric subtrochanteric fractures and then apply that definition in a retrospective review of 13 patients who sustained subtrochanteric femur fractures treated with TEN at North Carolina Baptist Hospital using a modified technique that allows for improved fracture stability. Charts and radiographs were retrospectively reviewed for all pediatric patients sustaining subtrochanteric femur fractures treated with TEN from the period of 2000 to 2004 at Wake Forest University. The TEN outcome measures scale was applied to determine their results. TEN allowed rapid mobilization with excellent or satisfactory clinical and radiographic results in all patients. Results suggest that the use of TEN for subtrochanteric femur fractures is a safe and effective method of fixation that benefits patients through early mobilization, shorter hospital stays, and fewer complications. By applying the definition of subtrochanteric femur fractures described by the authors, results of future studies can be objectively compared and classified. TEN is a safe and effective alternative for treating most pediatric subtrochanteric fractures by decreasing the morbidity that occurs with other treatment modalities.
Article
Between 1996 and 2003 six institutions in the United States and France contributed a consecutive series of 234 fractures of the femur in 229 children which were treated by titanium elastic nailing. Minor or major complications occurred in 80 fractures. Full information was available concerning 230 fractures, of which the outcome was excellent in 150 (65%), satisfactory in 57 (25%), and poor in 23 (10%). Poor outcomes were due to leg-length discrepancy in five fractures, unacceptable angulation in 17, and failure of fixation in one. There was a statistically significant relationship (p = 0.003) between age and outcome, and the odds ratio for poor outcome was 3.86 for children aged 11 years and older compared with those below this age. The difference between the weight of children with a poor outcome and those with an excellent or satisfactory outcome was statistically significant (54 kg vs 39 kg; p = 0.003). A poor outcome was five times more likely in children who weighed more than 49 kg.
Article
Unlabelled: Elastic stable intramedullary nailing (ESIN) has became a well-accepted method of osteosynthesis of diaphyseal fractures in children and adolescents for many reasons including the following: no need for postoperative cast, primary bone union with avoidance of growth plate injury, and minimum invasive surgery. Operative technique: The principle is to introduce 2 elastic nails, titanium or stainless steel, into the medullary canal through a metaphyseal approach. The bended nails must have their maximum of curve at the level of the fracture, and their orientation, most often face to face, is in charge of the reduction and, so far, the stabilization, of the fracture. The usual size of the nails is equal to 0.4 times the diameter of the medullary canal. As far as possible, a bigger diameter is better than a thinner one. Most fractures of the femur are treated with a bipolar retrograde ESIN when some distal fractures need an antegrade subtrochanteric approach. Forearm fractures need a combined retrograde radial and antegrade ulnar through the posterolateral part of the olecranon. Humerus and tibial diaphyseal fractures may also be treated with ESIN. Complications are mainly caused by technical errors including too-thin nails, asymmetry of the frame, and malorientation of the implants. Nonunion was never observed in fractures of the femur and the forearm; osteomyelitis rate is 2%, and mean overgrowth of the femur is less than 10 mm before the age of 10 years. Indications of ESIN are fractures of the diaphysis: all the fractures of the femur between the age of 6 years and the end of growth except for the severe open grade III fractures, all the unstable fractures of the forearm, and some unstable fractures of the humerus and the tibia during adolescence or before the end of growth. In addition, ESIN is indicated in polytraumatism and multiple injuries. Conclusions: The good results of this reliable technique are obtained when surgeons have a good knowledge of it, especially in the understanding of the principle of the correction of the fracture and its stability.
Article
The cases of 40 pediatric femur fractures treated with external fixation were reviewed to determine whether stabilization with cortical contact resulted in clinical leg-length discrepancy (LLD). Mean follow-up was 29.4 months, mean age was 6.6 years (range, 2-10 years), 25 injuries were isolated, 100% of the fixators were applied with cortical contact, all fractures healed by a mean of 92 days, 72.5% were dynamized before removal, mean LLD was 0.24 cm short, and complications included 1 refracture (2.5%), early removal of 2 loose pins (1.25% of 160 pins), pin-tract infections in 21 patients (52.5%), and 1 LLD (2.5%) of more than 1.0 cm (5.0 cm short). External fixation with cortical contact was an effective treatment for pediatric femur fractures. It limited overgrowth and resulted in few refractures. Pin-tract infections were common.
Article
Subtrochanteric femoral fractures are complicated injuries that may be associated with other life-threatening conditions. Patients should be carefully evaluated and appropriately treated for hypovolemic shock. These fractures can be effectively stabilized with 95 degrees plates, femoral reconstruction nails, or trochanteric femoral nails with interlocking options. Nails produce very stable constructs and consistently can be placed with the patient in the lateral position on the radiolucent table or in the supine position on the fracture table. Standard antegrade femoral nails may be indicated in certain fracture patterns. The 135 degrees hip screw-plate is not suitable in the treatment of subtrochanteric femoral fractures; use of these implants may result in loss of fixation and fracture displacement. Chemical and mechanical prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis should be initiated unless contraindicated by other medical comorbidities. An accurate reduction and excellent surgical technique with minimal soft-tissue dissection can routinely produce good results without the need for secondary procedures.
Article
The AO Pediatric Expert Group and the AO Pediatric Classification Group, in cooperation with the AO Investigation and Documentation Group introduce and present the first comprehensive classification of pediatric long bone fractures. The anatomy is related to the 4 long bones and their 3 segments defined as proximal (1), shaft (2) and distal (3). It is further described by the fracture subsegment recorded as epiphyseal (E), metaphyseal (M) and diaphyseal (D), whereby proximal and distal fractures are classified as E or M and shaft fractures are always D. The distinction between metaphyseal and diaphyseal fractures is achieved by localizing the center of fracture lines with regard to a square drawn over the respective growth plates. The morphology of the fracture is documented by a subsegment-specific child pattern code, a severity code as well as an additional code for displacement of specific fractures such as supracondylar fractures and radial heads. The classification process requires trained observers to read standard radiographic images.