Femur Fracture Fixation with Intramedullary Rod
What it is
This fracture occurs between the neck of the femur and a lower bony prominence called the lesser trochanter. The lesser trochanter is an attachment point for one of the major muscles of the hip. Intertrochanteric fractures generally cross in the area between the lesser trochanter and the greater trochanter. The greater trochanter is the bump you can feel under the skin on the outside of the hip. It acts as another muscle attachment point.
Repair of an intertrochanteric fracture with an intramedullary nail. The nail is in the hollow cavity of the femur (thighbone) rather than on the side of it (as with a plate).
Most intertrochanteric fractures are managed with either a compression hip screw or an intramedullary nail, which also allows for impaction at the fracture site. The compression hip screw is fixed to the outer side of the bone with bone screws and has a large secondary screw (lag screw) that is placed through the plate into the neck and head of the hip (see compression hip screw figure above). The design of the device allows for impaction and compression at the fracture site. This may increase the stability of the area and promote healing.
The intramedullary nail is placed directly into the marrow canal of the bone through an opening made at the top of the greater trochanter. A lag screw is then placed through the nail and up into the neck and head of the hip. As with the compression hip screw, sliding of the lag screw and impaction of the fracture take place. There are no definitive studies to show that one device is superior to another. The decision as to which to use is based on the surgeon’s preference and experience.