Background: Although intramedullary nailing is an ideal treatment for subtrochanteric femoral fractures, it is technically challenging in fractures extending into the nail entry area and/or involving the lesser trochanter. Although the application of circumferential wire may facilitate reduction in these situations, its use remains controversial due to possible blood supply disturbances to underlying bone. In the present study, we evaluated complex subtrochanteric fractures treated by percutaneous cerclage wiring followed by intramedullary (IM) nailing for anatomical fracture reduction and union. Methods: Twelve patients (mean age 48.3 years) with an unstable subtrochanteric fracture were prospectively treated. Indications of percutaneous cerclage wiring followed by IM nailing were a fracture extending proximally into the nail entry area deemed difficult to treat by anatomical reconstruction by IM nailing or a fracture with long oblique or spiral component. One or two cerclage wires were percutaneously applied for the temporary reduction of main fragments, and then, a cephalo-medullary or a reconstruction nail was fixed. We assessed radiologic results (union time, alignment), functional results, and complications. Results: All 12 cases healed, without a bone graft, at an average of 19.1 weeks after surgery (range 16-24). In 11 cases, acceptable alignment was achieved (mean, valgus 0.3° extension 0.6°) with minimal leg-length discrepancy; the other exhibited 1 cm of shortening. All patients were able to return to pre-injury activity levels, and median Merle d'Aubigne score was 16.9 (15-18). No infection or implant-related complication was encountered to latest follow-up (minimum 12 months postoperatively). Conclusion: Temporary reduction by percutaneous wiring offers a means of satisfactory nailing in difficult subtrochanteric femoral fractures, and affords anatomical reconstruction and favorable bony union.
- Intramedullary nailing
- Percutaneous wiring
- Subtrochanteric femoral fractures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine