Exchange nailing with enhanced distal fixation is effective for the treatment of infraisthmal femoral nonunions

Abstract

Introduction

The treatment options for nonunions of infraisthmal femoral shaft fractures after internal fixation are controversial. Methods such as exchanging an existing nail with a nail of a larger size, dynamization, removal of the nail followed by plating, and bone grafting have all been reported. Among those options, exchange nailing seems to be the most popular choice. In this study, a Poller screw, or an additional interlocking screw, was used in conjunction with exchange intramedullary nailing. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of treating femoral shaft nonunions using insertion of a Poller screw or an additional interlocking screw in conjunction with intramedullary nail fixation.

Materials and methods

This study included 18 patients who presented with nonunion of femur shaft fractures after internal fixation at the infraisthmal level. These patients included 13 men and 5 women, with a mean age of 46.8 years (range 15–78 years). The mean postsurgical period of nonunion was 7.8 months (range 6–12 months). The patients were classified into two groups: the atrophic nonunion group and the hypertrophic nonunion group. In all patients, nailing was enhanced with a Poller screw or additional interlocking screws. All patients were followed up with plain film examinations and were assessed for their functional recovery status to determine the osseous union conditions.

Results

All 18 patients achieved postoperative bony union after a mean time of 7.5 months (range 3–12 months), and all patients were able to walk with full weight-bearing and without pain within 3 months. There were no significant complications, such as broken hardware, implant back-outs, axial or rotational malalignments, or deep infections.

Conclusion

Poller screws and additional interlocking screws, along with intramedullary nailing exchange, may be an effective and reliable alternative for treating infraisthmal femoral shaft nonunions.

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Correspondence to Yong-Cheol Yoon or Jong-Keon Oh.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Kim, JW., Yoon, YC., Oh, CW. et al. Exchange nailing with enhanced distal fixation is effective for the treatment of infraisthmal femoral nonunions. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg 138, 27–34 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00402-017-2802-z

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Keywords

  • Nonunion
  • Infraisthmal femoral shaft fracture
  • Exchange intramedullary nailing
  • Poller screw
  • Additional interlocking screw