Interprosthetic femoral fractures are rare and raise unresolved treatment issues such as the length of the fixation material that best prevents secondary fractures. Awareness of the advantages of locked-plate fixation via a minimally invasive approach remains limited, despite the potential of this method for improving success rates.
Femur-spanning (from the trochanters to the condyles) locked-plate fixation via a minimally invasive approach provides high healing rates with no secondary fractures.
Materials and methods
From January 2004 to May 2011, all eight patients seen for interprosthetic fractures were treated with minimally invasive locked-plate fixation. Mean time since hip arthroplasty was 47.5months and mean time since knee arthroplasty was 72.6months. There were 12 standard primary prostheses and four revision prostheses; 11 prostheses were cemented and a single prosthesis showed femoral loosening. Classification about the hip prostheses was Vancouver B in one patient and Vancouver C in seven patients; about the knee prosthesis, the fracture was SoFCOT B in three patients and SOFCOT C in five patients, and a single fracture was SoFCOT D. Minimally invasive locking-plate fixation was performed in all eight patients, with installation on a traction table in seven patients.
Healing was obtained in all eight patients, after a mean of 14weeks (range, 12–16weeks). One patient had malalignment with more than 5° of varus. There were no general or infectious complications. One patient died, 32months after surgery. The mean Parker-Palmer mobility score decreased from 6.2 pre-operatively to 2.5 at last follow-up. Early construct failure after 3weeks in one patient required surgical revision. There was no change in implant fixation at last follow-up. No secondary fractures were recorded.
In patients with type B or C interprosthetic fractures, femur-spanning fixation not only avoids complications related to altered bone stock and presence of prosthetic material, but also decreases the risk of secondary fractures by eliminating stress riser zones. The minimally invasive option enhances healing by preserving the fracture haematoma. Thus, healing was obtained consistently in our patients, with no secondary fractures, although the construct failed in one patient.
Level of evidence
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Keywords : Femoral fracture, Interprosthetic fracture, Periprosthetic fracture, Internal fixation, Locked-plate, Minimally invasive