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Bone Joint Res. 2012 Jun 1;1(6):104-10. doi: 10.1302/2046-3758.16.2000067. Print 2012 Jun.

Biomechanical effects of hardware configuration after union of proximal femoral and shaft fractures.

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Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, P.O. Box 980153, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0153, USA.



The use of two implants to manage concomitant ipsilateral femoral shaft and proximal femoral fractures has been indicated, but no studies address the relationship of dynamic hip screw (DHS) side plate screws and the intramedullary nail where failure might occur after union. This study compares different implant configurations in order to investigate bridging the gap between the distal DHS and tip of the intramedullary nail.


A total of 29 left synthetic femora were tested in three groups: 1) gapped short nail (GSN); 2) unicortical short nail (USN), differing from GSN by the use of two unicortical bridging screws; and 3) bicortical long nail (BLN), with two angled bicortical and one unicortical bridging screws. With these findings, five matched-pairs of cadaveric femora were tested in two groups: 1) unicortical long nail (ULN), with a longer nail than USN and three bridging unicortical screws; and 2) BLN. Specimens were axially loaded to 22.7 kg (50 lb), and internally rotated 90°/sec until failure.


For synthetic femora, a difference was detected between GSN and BLN in energy to failure (p = 0.04) and torque at failure (p = 0.02), but not between USN and other groups for energy to failure (vs GSN, p = 0.71; vs BLN, p = 0.19) and torque at failure (vs GSN, p = 0.55; vs BLN, p = 0.15). For cadaveric femora, ULN and BLN performed similarly because of the improvement provided by the bridging screws.


Our study shows that bicortical angled screws in the DHS side plate are superior to no screws at all in this model and loading scenario, and suggests that adding unicortical screws to a gapped construct is probably beneficial.


Biomechanical; Dynamic hip screw; Femoral neck; Femur fracture; Intertrochanteric; Intramedullary nail

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