Intramedullary nailing versus submuscular plating in adolescent femoral fracture

Injury. 2012 Jun;43(6):870-5. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2011.10.032. Epub 2011 Dec 6.


Background: Femoral fractures in adolescents usually need operative treatment, but the optimal method is unclear. The purpose of this study is to compare intramedullary nailing (IN) and submuscular plating (SP) in adolescent femoral fractures.

Materials and methods: We performed the prospective, comparison study of IN and SP in adolescent femoral shaft fractures at a mean age of 13.9 years (11-17.4). Twenty-two cases of IN and 23 cases of SP were followed for a minimum of 1 year. We compared radiological and clinical results, surgical parameters, and complications of two techniques.

Results: Bony union was achieved in all cases except one case of IN. Time to union was similar in both groups. None showed mal-union over 10° or limb length discrepancy over 1 cm. None of SP group and 2 in IN group experienced re-operation; one patient had deep infection with nonunion. The other patient sustained mal-rotation. Both patients healed after revision procedure. All patients showed excellent or satisfactory results of Flynn's criteria. The time to full-weight bearing was shorter in IN (IN: 57.3 days, SP: 89.2 days, p<0.05). In surgical parameters, operative time seemed shorter in IN (IN: 94.7 min, SP: 104 min, p=0.095), and fluoroscopy time was shorter in IN (IN: 58s, SP: 109s, p<0.05) than SP group.

Conclusion: Although both IN and SP yield good results and minimal complication in adolescent femoral fractures, IN may be advantageous in less need of fluoroscopy, technical easiness in reduction and early weight bearing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bone Nails*
  • Bone Plates*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Femoral Fractures / physiopathology
  • Femoral Fractures / surgery*
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / instrumentation
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / methods*
  • Fracture Healing
  • Humans
  • Leg Length Inequality
  • Male
  • Osteonecrosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteonecrosis / prevention & control*
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing