It was hypothesized that transverse locking screws of intramedullary nails, seated above the lesser trochanter, provide equal strength to that of reconstruction nails, and that screws placed through the medial cortex of the femoral neck do not have adverse biomechanical effects during physiologic loading. Synthetic femurs (n = 10) and paired anatomic specimen femurs (n = 14) were tested intact and with an intramedullary device in place. Intact specimens were loaded nondestructively, then a segmental subtrochanteric defect was created and either a high seated transverse locking nail or a reconstruction nail was inserted and statistically locked. Axial and torsional stiffness were determined followed by axial failure testing. Mechanical parameters evaluated were stiffness, displacement, and energy. The implanted specimens did not show any statistically significant difference between transverse or reconstruction screw constructs with any of the measured parameters (stiffness, displacement, and energy). Failure tests in implanted specimens also did not show any statistically significant difference in yield load, yield displacement, or energy to failure between implant constructs. All anatomic specimens failed, with fractures of the proximal fragment involving medial and lateral cortices. Synthetic specimens did not fracture but showed failure with implant deformation at the level of the skeletal defect. The use of high seated transverse locking nails for complex proximal femoral fractures is a viable option and has comparable in vitro mechanical performance with reconstruction nails. Although not shown to be a problem in the present study, clinical evaluation of screws through the medial femoral neck cortex is required.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine