, Volume 472, Issue 9, pp 2735-2744
Date: 17 Aug 2013

Elastic Nailing for Pediatric Subtrochanteric and Supracondylar Femur Fractures

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Background

Subtrochanteric and supracondylar femur fractures are difficult injuries to treat in children. Although elastic stable intramedullary nails are commonly used for pediatric femur shaft fractures, there is little information on their effectiveness for managing pediatric subtrochanteric and supracondylar femur fractures.

Questions/purposes

We (1) evaluated radiographic union rates and fracture alignment after elastic nailing of pediatric subtrochanteric and supracondylar femur fractures, (2) identified complications, and (3) determined risk factors for complications.

Methods

Between 2005 and 2011, 36 subtrochanteric fractures and eight supracondylar femur fractures were treated with elastic stable intramedullary nails and had complete followup until clinical and radiographic union. Elastic nailing was used for subtrochanteric fractures in children 5 to 12 years of age or after failed spica cast treatment in younger children and for displaced supracondylar fractures in children older than 5 years. Fracture alignment and union were measured on radiographs, and complications were identified from review of patient charts. Patients with and without complications were compared using nonparametric tests to identify risk factors.

Results

All fractures healed; 23 of 33 (70%) subtrochanteric femur fractures and five of seven (71%) supracondylar femur fractures healed with anterior angulation of about 5°. For subtrochanteric fractures, complications included repositioning/removal of nails before radiographic union (n = 4), malunion (n = 2), fracture (n = 1), irritation (n = 1) at nail insertion site, and limb length discrepancy (n = 1); despite these complications, there were 22 (61%) excellent, 12 (33%) satisfactory, and only two (6%) poor outcomes. For supracondylar fractures, complications included infection after nail removal (n = 1) and nail site irritation (n = 2); there were three (38%) excellent, five (62%) satisfactory, and no poor outcomes. Complications were more likely after subtrochanteric fracture during motor vehicle accident (p = 0.045).

Conclusions

Although complication rates are high with elastic nailing for pediatric subtrochanteric (22%) and supracondylar (38%) femur fractures, elastic nailing represents an important option for difficult-to-manage femur fractures.

Level of Evidence

Level IV, therapeutic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Each author certifies that he or she, or a member of his or her immediate family, has no funding or commercial associations (eg, consultancies, stock ownership, equity interest, patent/licensing arrangements, etc) that might pose a conflict of interest in connection with the submitted article.
All ICMJE Conflict of Interest Forms for authors and Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research editors and board members are on file with the publication and can be viewed on request.
Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research neither advocates nor endorses the use of any treatment, drug, or device. Readers are encouraged to always seek additional information, including FDA approval status, of any drug or device before clinical use.
This work was performed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.