The lateral approach to the distal femur allows for visualization, reduction and fixation of simple articular fractures of the distal femur.
The lateral parapatellar approach provides a good view of the articular surface of the distal femur. With a longitudinal division of the quadriceps tendon and extensor mechanism, the patella can be dislocated medially.
The arthroscopic approach is only recommended in minimally, or nondisplaced, fractures in young patients. Advanced experience in arthroscopic surgery is essential.
The lateral minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis (MIPO) approach combines a short version of the open lateral approach to the distal femur, a minimally invasive approach to the midshaft or, proximal femoral region and small 1.0 – 1.5 cm wide stab incisions.
The medial approach to the distal femur is useful to expose a medial distal femoral fractures, a Hoffa-type fracture, osteochondroma, or a neoplastic lesion of bone.
Care should be taken with the approach for retrograde nailing as several anatomical structures are at risk. The most important potential hazard is damage to the posterior cruciate ligament.
The neurovascular structures of the knee joint are at risk during the posterior approach. They are located between the two femoral condyles and the heads of the gastrocnemius muscle.
Make a longitudinal, slightly oblique medial parapatellar incision along a line starting 5 cm above the superior pole of the patella to the tibial tubercle.
Inserting percutaneous instrumentation through safe zones reduces the risk of damage to neurovascular structures.