JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Antegrade nailing of femoral shaft fractures combined with neck or distal femur fractures. A retrospective review of 25 cases, with a follow-up of 36-150 months.

INTRODUCTION: Complex femoral fractures pose considerable therapeutic challenges to orthopedic surgeons. We present a retrospective review of 25 patients with complex femoral fractures treated with intramedullary locked nailing and supplemental screw fixation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifteen patients with ipsilateral femoral neck and shaft fractures (group 1) and 10 patients with ipsilateral femoral shaft and distal femur fractures (group 2) were treated from 1990 to 1998. High-energy injuries occurred in all patients. There were 4 open fractures. Antegrade, locked nailing of diaphyseal fractures was performed in all cases. Supplemental screws for the neck were used in all patients in group 1 and in 3 patients in group 2.

RESULTS: All of the fractures united during the follow-up. Five patients in group 1 underwent reoperation (33.3%): one due to a delayed union, the second due to an implant failure, the third due to a nonunion of a neck fracture, and the last two because of an initially missed femoral neck fracture. None of the patients in group 2 underwent reoperation. Angular malalignment of the shaft was found in 6 fractures in group 1 (average 4.8 degree, range 3 degree-11 degree) and in 4 fractures in group 2 (average 6 degree, range 3 degree-12 degree). Shortening of the limb occurred in 3 patients in group 1 (average 1.4 cm, range 1-1.8) and in 1 patient in group 2 (2 cm). Loss of fixation was seen in 1 patient in each group. Avascular necrosis and infection were not seen in any case in both groups.

CONCLUSION: Femoral intramedullary nails with antegrade or retrograde options for insertion and different locking possibilities have extended the indications to include both diaphyseal and metaphyseal fractures. New nail designs, usually more expensive than the conventional nails, have been introduced into the market for this purpose. One has to keep in mind that antegrade, locked nailing of femoral shaft fractures combined with neck or distal femur fractures is a technically demanding but efficacious procedure. The success rate is high when the technique is meticulously implemented.

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