Retrograde nailing of a femoral supracondyle

Chi Chuan Wu*, Ching Lung Tai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

3 Scopus citations


Because standard femoral supracondylar nails have certain disadvantages, they are often replaced by traditional femoral or tibial locked nails. The purpose of this study was to make a biomechanical comparison between both types of traditional locked nails to determine which technique was more suitable for treating unstable femoral supracondylar fractures. Fourteen left Sawbones femurs (Pacific Research Laboratories, Vashon, Washington) were osteotomized in the femoral supracondylar area. One centimeter of the medial cortex in the proximal fragment was obliquely removed to simulate an unstable fracture without shortening. Seven specimens were treated with traditional retrograde dynamic femoral locked nails, and the other 7 with traditional retrograde dynamic tibial locked nails. All specimens were tested with a servohydraulic materials testing machine to compare their relative stability. Static compression, dynamic cyclic compression, and static compression to failure were tested. An extensometer was used to measure the displacement of fragments. Displacement between the fragments increased following the increment in loads in both nails. The load-displacement curve was nearly linear up to 1000 N for both nails. The femoral nail had a greater stiffness compared with the tibial nail at 100 and 200 N (P=.02 and P=.04, respectively) in static compression and at 700 to 1000 N (P=.01 in each case) in dynamic cyclic compression, as well as larger loads in static compression to failure (8663 vs 7547 N, respectively; P<.001). Clinically, a traditional femoral locked nail may be more suitable to replace a standard femoral supracondylar nail in a retrograde fashion to treat an unstable femoral supracondylar fracture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e491-e496
Issue number4
StatePublished - 04 2012


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