Study to evaluate the outcomes of surgical stabilization of distal 1/3rd fracture shaft femur with retrograde nailing

Ashok Nagla, Abhay Manchanda, Anand Gupta, Vinay Tantuway, Viral Patel, Noor Arshad


Background: Distal femur is a complex fractures and most of times a personalized approach is needed for these fractures. Over a period of time variety of approaches and implants have been used for these fractures. The use of retrograde femur nail for fixing femur fracture, using entry from inter-condylar notch of femur, is a known method of treatment, but most surgeons are apprehensive of making an entry from the knee joint because of possible complications like knee pain, arthro-fibrosis, infections etc .The aim of this study was to investigate its effectiveness in fixation of distal 1/3rd fracture of femur with special emphasis on the outcome and inherent surgical challenges.

Methods: A prospective study of 40 patients with fracture femur diaphysial distal one third were treated by retrograde nailing, from July 2010 to January 2016, after obtaining required approval from the Institutional ethical & research committee. All the patients were followed till fracture union and evaluated on the basis of demography, duration of healing, complications and surgical challenges.

Results: We observed that mean age of patients was 35.8 years (18 years to 62 years) where 87.5% were male and 12.5% were female. Average duration of healing was 17.75 weeks (ranging from 10 weeks to 36 weeks) with 100% healing achieved. Mean knee range of motion was 124.5 degree (70 to 140 degree), rate of knee pain 10% (4/40), re-operation rate 5% (2/40), infection rate 2.5% (1/40), and fat embolism 2.5% (1/40).

Conclusions: Retrograde femoral nailing is a reliable alternative to antegrade nailing or plate fixation for diaphyseal fracture distal one third femur, and may be in some situations even advantageous when antegrade nail entry is challenging like ipsilateral hip fractures, previous implant in hip & proximal femur, ipsilateral pelvi-acetabular injury, bilateral femoral shaft fracture, floating Knee injuries, poly-trauma and obese patients.


Distal femur fractures, Retrograde femoral nailing, Supracondylar nail

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