Operative problems in the application of femoral locking nails are frequently related to an unfavourable entry point at the greater trochanter. Especially in more distally located fractures the nail is forced to follow the cortex abutted medullary canal. A wrong defined entry point either in the medio-lateral or dorso-ventral direction inevitably leads to tension between nail and femur. Forceful insertion in this situation may cause disastrous iatrogenic comminution at the fracture side or additional fractures at the proximal femur. To avoid tension between nail and femur the best suited entry point must be defined according to the natural medullary cavity.
In 16 human cadaver femora, the natural medullary cavity was opened and after cleaning filled with a radio-opaque substance (barium sulphate). Twelve radiographs where taken from each bone starting with the anterior–posterior view and then turning the bone axially in steps of 15°. From these radiographs, the ideal entry point at the greater trochanter was calculated.
In 88% of the specimen the ideal entry point for a straight nail was found constantly at the medial border of the greater trochanter overlaying the tendinous insertion of the piriformis muscle. The axis of the medullary cavity was in average 2.1 cm anterior to the dorsal border of the greater trochanter.
In a second step the ideal entry point for bend nails was calculated. According to this calculation a bend nail with a radius of 100 cm needs an entry point 0.7 mm anterior to the dorsal edge of the greater trochanter. Overlaying the hook like shape of the posterior part of the trochanter.
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Accepted: April 25, 2002
© 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.