Executive Editor: Joseph Schatzker, Peter Trafton

Authors: Ernst Raaymakers, Inger Schipper, Rogier Simmermacher, Chris van der Werken

Proximal femur - Trochanteric fracture, pertrochanteric, simple

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Glossary

1 Preliminary remarks top

The lesser trochanter must be attached to one of the two fragments. enlarge

The definitive decision for the treatment of this fracture will be made after positioning of the patient and reduction of the fracture. Since emergency department x-rays are often of suboptimal quality, verification of the preoperative diagnosis using image intensification is necessary.
The lesser trochanter is the key in the decision making as to the choice of the appropriate fixation device.
In simple pertrochanteric fractures, the lesser trochanter remains attached to one of the two fragments. In case it is not, we are dealing with another fracture type, and another treatment modality might be a better choice.
Fractures where the lesser trochanter is still attached to the femoral shaft are generally called stable trochanteric fractures, because after anatomic reduction and internal fixation there is little tendency to loss of reduction under physiological loading.
If the lesser trochanter is attached to the proximal fragment, closed reduction might be impossible because the pull of the psoas muscle will flex and externally rotate the proximal fragment, and traction will not correct this displacement. In these cases, open reduction is often necessary.

Note
Because of the intrinsic stability of fractures with lesser trochanter attached to the distal fragment after reduction, most implants will be adequate to maintain reduction and result in uneventful healing. Simple extramedullary sliding devices like the DHS are the cheapest and most logical choices for fixation. The general concept of the application of these devices is shown on the next pages with the AO dynamic hip screw (DHS) used as an example.

2 Reduction top

Reduction will be achieved by first pulling in the length axis of the leg in order to distract the fragments and regain length. enlarge

Closed reduction

The patient is positioned supine on the fracture table. The ipsilateral arm is elevated in a sling and the contralateral uninjured leg is placed on a leg holder.

Reduction is usually achieved by first pulling in the direction of the long axis of the leg in order to distract the fragments and regain length.

Next comes internal rotation.

The reduction must be checked in both the AP and lateral view with an image intensifier.


enlarge

Open reduction

If closed reduction fails, carry out a limited open reduction. The lateral incision is enlarged as necessary by increasing its length and retracting the vastus lateralis anteriorly and medially. Direct visualization of the fracture site is usually unnecessary. Clear the fracture site of interposed soft tissue as needed. Then restore length and correct rotation. Fracture table adjustments are usually required.

Align the corresponding fracture surfaces so they are opposite one another. Then place a pointed reduction clamp so that one point catches the proximal fragment above the lesser trochanter. Reduction is achieved by closing the clamp.

Confirm the reduction with the image intensifier.

3 Guide wire insertion top

In order to facilitate the insertion of the guide wire for the screw an additional guide wire might be placed by hand. enlarge

Technique of insertion

The approach is between the vastus lateralis and the septum. The first step is to position a guide wire on the neck, and hammer it into the head. With the C-arm positioned to show the neck axis, slide the guide wire along the neck, parallel to its axis, and gently tap it into the head. With the C-arm in the AP make sure that it subtends the center-collum diaphysis (CCD) angle of the neck. This will help you with the insertion of the guide wire for the DHS screw.


The aiming device is chosen according to the chosen CCD angle of the implant. enlarge

Application of the aiming device

Choose the correct aiming device according to the CCD angle of the neck. Check its position in the AP with the image intensifier.


The guide wire is inserted through the aiming device and advanced into the subchondral bone. enlarge

Insertion of a guide wire for the screw

Insert the guide wire through the aiming device and advance it into the subchondral bone of the head, stopping 10 mm short of the joint.
Position it so that in the AP it is in the caudal half of the neck and in the axial view in the center of the neck.

4 Screw insertion top

Determine the length of the DHS screw with the measuring device and select a screw which is 10 mm shorter. enlarge

Determination of the length of the DHS screw

Determine the length of the DHS screw with the help of the measuring device. Select a screw which is 10 mm shorter than the measured length.


Adjust the cannulated triple reamer to the chosen length of the screw. Drill a hole for the screw and the plate sleeve. enlarge

Drilling

Adjust the cannulated triple reamer to the chosen length of the screw.
Drill a hole for the screw and the plate sleeve.


When the screw has reached its final position, the T-handle has to be in line with the longitudinal axis of the femur. enlarge

Insertion of the femoral neck screw

The correct screw is mounted on the handle and inserted over the guide wire. By turning the handle it is advanced into the bone. Do not push forcefully or you may distract the fracture.

In young patients with hard bone, it is best to use the tap to precut the thread for the screw. Otherwise the screw may not advance, and you may actually displace the fracture by twisting the proximal fragment as you attempt to insert the screw.

When the screw has reached its final position (checked with the image intensifier: 10 mm short of the subchondral bone in the AP and lateral) the T-handle of the insertion piece should be parallel to the long axis of the bone to ensure the correct position of the plate.

5 Fixation of the DHS plate top

Generally, a two-hole DHS plate with the preoperatively determined CCD angle will be chosen. enlarge

Application of the DHS plate

Generally, for pertrochanteric fractures with lesser trochanter attached to the distal fragment, a two-hole DHS plate is enough. Take the plate with the correct CCD angle and slide it over the guide wire and mate it correctly with the screw.
Then push it in over the screw and seat it home with the impactor.


Fix the plate to the femoral shaft with an appropriate number and size of plate holding cortical screws. enlarge

Plate fixation

Fix the plate to the femoral shaft with an appropriate number and size of plate holding cortical screws.

Note
There is no need to use the compression screw. As the patient bears weight, the fracture will impact and compress due to the sliding design of the implant.

v2.0 2010-11-14