Intramedullary Nailing of Femoral Shaft Fractures: Current Concepts

William M. Ricci, MD, Bethany Gallagher, MD and George J. Haidukewych, MD J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 17, No 5, May 2009

Intramedullary nailing is the preferred method for treating fractures of the femoral shaft. The piriformis fossa and greater trochanter are viable starting points for antegrade nailing. Alternatively, retrograde nailing may be performed. Each option has relative advantages, disadvantages, and indications. Patient positioning can affect the relative ease of intramedullary nailing and the incidence of malalignment. The timing of femoral intramedullary nailing as well as the use of reaming must be tailored to each patient to avoid systemic complications. Associated comorbidities, the body habitus, and associated injuries should be considered when determining the starting point, optimal patient positioning for nailing, whether to use reduction aids as well as which to use, and any modifications of standard technique. Intramedullary nailing of diaphyseal femur fractures provides a stable fixation construct that can be applied using indirect reduction techniques. This method yields high union rates and low complication rates when vigilance is maintained during preoperative planning, the surgical procedure, and the postoperative period.

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