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Intertrochanteric femoral fractures. Mechanical failure after internal fixation

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In a prospective study we assessed the causes of mechanical failure in a series of 230 intertrochanteric femoral fractures which had been internally fixed with either a sliding hip screw or a Kuntscher Y-nail. The overall rate of mechanical failure was 16.5%; cutting-out of the implant from the femoral head was the cause in three-quarters of the instances. Implants placed posteriorly in the femoral head cut out more often (27%) than those placed centrally (7%). The cut-out rate was also determined by the quality of the fracture reduction, but age, walking ability and bone density (assessed by the Singh grade and metacarpal indices) had no significant influence. We conclude that these fractures should be reduced as accurately as possible and it is imperative that the implant is placed centrally within the femoral head.

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