Executive Editor: Amy Kapatkin General Editor: Noel Moens

Authors: Bruno Peirone

Femoral shaft 32-C1

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1 Indications top


In 32-C1 fractures, it may be possible to use this technique.  In most cases, C type fractures are best managed with indirect reduction and bridging techniques.

2 Principles top


Anatomic reduction

Reducing the free fragment to one of the main bone segments is recommended. This transforms the 3-piece fracture into a simpler 2-piece fracture that allows for an easier anatomical fracture reduction.

3 Patient positioning and approach top


This procedure is performed with the patient in lateral recumbency, and through the open approach to the shaft.

4 Surgical technique top


Fixation of the fragment

The fragment is secured to one of the main bone segments with a lag screw.


Reduction of the remaining fracture line

Bone holding forceps are applied to the proximal and distal major fragments for distraction.


In an oblique fracture pattern, the bones are slid along the fracture line into perfect anatomical reduction with the help of one or two pointed reduction forceps placed across the fracture line.

Note: care must be taken not to damage the secured fragment during the reduction maneuver.


A second lag screw completes the reconstruction of the bony column.


Lag screws vs. cerclage

In order to achieve interfragmentary compression and counteract the shearing forces, either cortex screws placed in lag fashion, cerclage wires or a combination of both can be used depending on fracture configuration.

Read more about lag screw fixation and cerclage wire techniques.


Pitfall: If the obliquity of the fracture is too short, a cerclage wire will cause the fracture to shear and cause loss of reduction.


Neutralization plating

The plate is contoured, applied and preliminary secured to the bone with bone or plate holding clamps. If a locking compression plate is used, temporary stabilization can be achieved with the push-and-pull devices.


Plate selection

The length of the plate should allow for placement of at least 3 screws in each the proximal and distal major fragment. To increase stability of the construct, a plate that spans 75% of the femur length is recommended.

Read more about plate preparation.


Plate application

The plate is secured with at least three bicortical screws in each of the major fragments.  Avoid screw insertion close or at the level of the fracture line. All screws are placed in a neutral mode.


Fixation with a locking plate

If a locking plate is used, only 2-3 locking bicortical screws per main fragment are needed.  One advantage of using a locking plate is that precise contouring is not necessary.

Note: If a combination of cortex and locking screws is used, the plate must be anatomically contoured at the sites of non-locking screw insertion. The non-locking screws must be inserted and tightened before any locking screws are placed.