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Femoral neck shortening after dynamic fixation of extra-capsular fracture may impair functional results, but is rarely assessed. The present study measured impaction in stable and unstable fractures (on the Ender classification) treated by PFNA™ nail. The objectives were: 1) to validate the Ender classification to assess fracture stability; 2) to determine whether neck shortening and head purchase quality varied with stability; and 3) to determine the functional impact of femoral neck shortening.
The study hypothesis was that the PFNA™ nail stabilizes unstable as well as stable fractures.
Materials and Methods
One hundred and fifteen consecutive patients, aged over 70 years, operated on for intertrochanteric fracture using the PFNA™ nail were followed up prospectively for 6 months. Multivariate analysis, including age, gender, assembly quality and body-mass index, was applied to assess the predictive power of the Ender classification with respect to femoral neck shortening. Secondly, patients were grouped according to stable versus unstable fracture (n=70 and 45, respectively), and impaction and femoral head purchase were assessed on a dedicated radiographic protocol. Functional results were assessed on Parker score.
In the unstable fracture group, 3 assembly failures required revision by total hip replacement. Ender grade>2 was significantly predictive of>5mm neck shortening. Neck shortening was greater in unstable fracture: 8.1±8.4mm (range, 4–32mm), versus 2.5±3.7mm (range, 3–14mm) (P=0.0004). Mean blade cut-through was 1.2±2.9mm (range, 1–12mm) in unstable fracture, versus 0.3±1.3mm (range, 1–6mm) (P=0.02). Mean cut-out was 2.3±6mm (range, 2–21mm) in unstable fracture, versus 0.5±2.6mm (range, 1–8mm) (P=0.03). Parker scores diminished comparably in the two groups, without significant difference at follow-up: 3.9±2.6 (range, 0–9) in stable and 3.1±1.9 (range, 0–8) in unstable fracture; reduction in Parker score showed no correlation with femoral neck shortening (r=0.013, P=0.88).
The PFNA™ nail provides poorer stabilization of unstable compared to stable fracture. Femoral neck shortening should be taken into account in assessing internal fixation hardware perfomances.
Level of evidence
Level III. Prospective case-control study.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Keywords : Intertrochanteric fracture, Internal fixation, O.R.I.F unstable fracture, Secondary displacement, Fixation failure