J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 18, No 10, October 2010 F. Winston Gwathmey, Jr, MD, Sean M. Jones-Quaidoo, MD, David Kahler, MD, Shepard Hurwitz, MD and Quanjun Cui, MD, MS
The diversity of surgical options for the management of distal femoral fractures reflects the challenges inherent in these injuries. These fractures are frequently comminuted and intra-articular, and they often involve osteoporotic bone, which makes it difficult to reduce and hold them while maintaining joint function and overall limb alignment. Surgery has become the standard of care for displaced fractures and for patients who must obtain rapid return of knee function. The goal of surgical management is to promote early knee motion while restoring the articular surface, maintaining limb length and alignment, and preserving the soft-tissue envelope with a durable fixation that allows functional recovery during bone healing. A variety of surgical exposures, techniques, and implants has been developed to meet these objectives, including intramedullary nailing, screw fixation, and periarticular locked plating, possibly augmented with bone fillers. Recognition of the indications and applications of the principles of modern implants and techniques is fundamental in achieving optimal outcomes.