Executive Editor: Chris Colton

Authors: Florian Gebhard, Phil Kregor, Chris Oliver

Distal femur Partial articular fracture, medial condyle, sagittal simple

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Glossary

1 Introduction top

General consideration

These single plane, intraarticular fractures require anatomical reduction and interfragmentary compression, sufficient to allow early joint motion. The perfection of the articular reduction is usually assessed by an open approach, but where the skills and resources are available, arthroscopically assisted reduction and percutaneous fixation may be considered. The surgeon should be prepared to find additional comminution, not evident until fracture exposure.


Note on approaches

Unless full arthroscopic facilities and expertise are available to check the closed reduction, prior to percutaneous screw insertion, the standard lateral parapatellar approach is used to give an optimal view of the joint fracture reduction.

2 Reduction top

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General considerations

Closed reduction and internal fixation (CRIF) is used in minimally displaced, or undisplaced simple, medial sagittal, partial articular fractures.

Preliminary reduction
As simple, medial sagittal, partial articular fractures  usually result from a varus force, the application of a valgus stress may reduce the fracture. If valgus stress alone is not sufficient, arthroscopy may be helpful to assess the accuracy of the reduction.


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Temporary K-wire placement

Under image intensifier control, make a stab incision over the medial aspect of the injured condyle and insert a temporary K-wire, to hold the reduction.

Make sure, that the K-wire does not conflict with the planned screw tracks.

Check of reduction
Check the reduction in two planes using the image intensifier.

3 Insertion of guide wires for cannulated screws top

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General consideration

In general, the screws are inserted at points along the midshaft axis of the femur (dotted line). The area distal to the Blumensaat’s intercondylar roof line must be avoided, in order not to violate the notch. In addition, the area of the medial knee recess should be avoided.

If you need to insert a screw in the area distal to the Blumensaat’s intercondylar roof line, direct the screw anteriorly, in order to avoid the intercondylar notch.


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Insertion of guide wires

Make a separate stab incision for each screw. Bluntly dissect to the bone, avoiding the medial recess of the knee.
Insert the appropriate guide wires for 7.3 mm cannulated screws, or alternatively, 4.5 mm cannulated screws. Depending on the size of the fragment, 2 to 4 screws are necessary.


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Guide wire position check

Use image intensifier to make sure that the tip of the K-wire just penetrates the far cortex, slightly externally rotating the femur to profile the sloping lateral face of the lateral condyle.

4 Cannulated screw insertion top

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Screw length determination

Determine the appropriate screw length using the dedicated measuring device.


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Screw insertion

Manually insert the screws of appropriate lengths over the guide wires. Washers may be used. Predrilling is usually not necessary if using self-drilling/self-tapping screws.

Then remove the temporarily placed K-wire and guide wires.


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Completed osteosynthesis

Illustration showing the completed osteosynthesis.

v1.0 2008-12-03