Objectives/hypothesis: Proximal and distal femur fractures have traditionally been treated with open reduction and internal fixation through a standard lateral approach. New, "minimally invasive" internal fixation techniques, however, have been developed in an effort to devascularize the bone less than the traditional method. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a minimally invasive percutaneous plating technique better preserves bone vascularity relative to the traditional method by comparing the effect of the two approaches on the blood supply of the distal femur using silicone arterial dye injection in a cadaveric model.
Study design/methods: Ten fresh human cadavers underwent lateral conventional plate osteosynthesis (CPO) through a standard lateral approach on one side and minimally invasive plate osteosynthesis (MIPO) through two three-centimeter incisions on the contralateral side. After injection of silicone dye, a dissection was performed bilaterally to identify the femoral perforating and nutrient arteries.
Results: All MIPO specimens showed intact perforating and nutrient arteries, whereas the CPO specimens had a variable incidence of vessel disruption. The MIPO group demonstrated better periosteal perfusion in each of the cadavers and improved medullary perfusion in 70 percent of the MIPO specimens compared with the CPO specimens.
Conclusion: A percutaneous minimally invasive plating technique disrupts the femoral blood supply less than the traditional open method. Such minimally invasive methods may be more advantageous biologically than the traditional method.