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Retrograde intramedullary nail fixation with oblique fixed angle screws versus locking plates in periprosthetic supracondylar fractures after total knee arthroplasty.

PURPOSE: Common surgical procedures in the treatment of periprosthetic distal femur fractures (PPFF) include osteosynthesis with fixed angle locking plates (LP) and retrograde intramedullary nails (RIN). This study aimed to compare LPs to RINs with oblique fixed angle screws in terms of complications, radiographic results and functional outcome.

METHODS: 63 PPFF in 59 patients who underwent treatment in between 2009 and 2020 were included and retrospectively reviewed. The anatomic lateral and posterior distal femoral angle (aLDFA and aPDFA) were measured on post-surgery radiographs. The Fracture Mobility Score (FMS) pre- and post-surgery, information about perceived instability in the operated leg and the level of pain were obtained via a questionnaire and previous follow-up (FU) examinations in 30 patients (32 fractures).

RESULTS: The collective (median age: 78 years) included 22 fractures treated with a RIN and 41 fractures fixed with a LP. There was no difference in the occurrence of complications (median FU: 21.5 months) however the rate of implant failures requiring an implant replacement was higher in fractures treated with a LP (p = 0.043). The aPDFA was greater in fractures treated with a RIN (p = 0.04). The functional outcome was comparable between both groups (median FU: 24.5 months) with a lower outcome in the post-surgery FMS (p =  < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Fractures treated with RIN resulted in an increased recurvation of the femur however the rate of complications and the functional outcome were comparable between the groups. The need for implant replacements following complications was higher in the LP group.

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