Simulating Prophylactic Fixation Methods for Osteoporotic Femoral Neck Fracture Prevention

Geriatr Orthop Surg Rehabil. 2022 Dec 9;13:21514593221141376. doi: 10.1177/21514593221141376. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: Geriatric patients who suffer femoral neck fractures have high morbidity and mortality. Prophylactic fixation of the femoral neck is a potential avenue to reduce the incidence of femoral neck fractures. We studied 3 different implants traditionally used to stabilize the femoral neck: 6.5 mm cannulated screws (CANN), the femoral neck system (FNS) (Depuy Synthes), and the dynamic hip screw (DHS) (Depuy Synthes).

Materials and methods: Five osteoporotic Sawbone femurs were used for each model and a control group. Two scenarios were investigated: single leg stance to measure construct stiffness and lateral impact to measure construct stiffness, energy to fracture, and qualitative examination of fracture patterns. Stiffness for each femur and energy to fracture for the lateral impact scenario were calculated and compared between groups using one-way ANOVA.

Results: DHS showed significantly higher stiffness than the other 2 implants and the control in single leg stance. In the lateral impact scenario, the DHS and CANN were significantly stiffer FNS and the control. Femurs implanted with CANN tended to fracture at the greater trochanter while FNS fractured in a transverse subtrochanteric pattern, and DHS fractured obliquely in the subtrochanteric region.

Discussion: FNS and DHS experienced fracture patterns less amenable to surgical correction. CANN and DHS proved better able to resist external forces in the lateral fall scenario. CANN also proved better able to resist external forces in the single leg stance scenario and experienced a more amenable fracture pattern in the lateral fall scenario.

Conclusions: FNS was less able to resist external forces compared with the other implants. This work informs the potential implications between the choice of implants that, although historically have not been used prophylactically, may be considered in the future for prophylactic stabilization of the femoral neck. Cadaveric study and clinical trials are recommended for further study.

Keywords: cannulated screw; dynamic hip screw; femoral neck; femoral neck system; osteoporosis.