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Common deformity

It is recognized that perfect realignment of a displaced distal femoral fracture will be impossible with a long leg cylinder splint. However, it helps to bring the fracture out to length and to correct some of the common hyperextension deformity.

Note: If the splint is not able to control the length adequately, this would be an indication for tibial skeletal traction, when a spanning external fixator could not be made available for provisional stabilization.

The surgeon applying the long leg splint must remember that the common deformity of a supracondylar femoral fracture is shortening and hyperextension of the distal fragment. In order to counteract the hyperextension, either a bolster can be placed under the supracondylar region, or preferably the knee can be sufficiently flexed by bringing the leg off the end or side of the table.

In order to maintain the length of the fracture in the long leg splint care must be taken to provide good supracondylar molding.