Biomechanical performance of short and long cephalomedullary nail constructs for stabilizing different levels of subtrochanteric fracture

Published:December 07, 2021DOI:



      The aim of this study was to assess biomechanical performance of short and long Cephalomedullary nail constructs consisting of different number of distal screw for stabilizing different levels of subtrochanteric fracture.

      Materials and methods

      The femur obtained from computed tomography scanner was used to create a transverse fracture at 15 mm (level A), 35 mm (level B), and 55 mm (level C) below the lesser trochanter. Short and long Cephalomedullary nails were virtually inserted to the fractured femur. Four-node tetrahedral element was used to build up finite element (FE) models for biomechanical analysis. The analysis focused on post-operative stage of partial weight-bearing.


      Stress on the implant localized at the surface between lag screw/nail and distal screw/nail. Short Cephalomedullary nail exhibited higher stress than long Cephalomedullary nail. The stress in short Cephalomedullary nail could be reduced by using two distal screws fixation and the fracture at level A produced less stress than that of level B and C. Either short or long nail with two distal screws is sufficient to withstand the stress magnitude produced from the physiologic load. When single dynamic distal screw was used, stress on implant, elastic strain at fracture gap, and bone stress reached the high values. Elastic strain of the fracture gap at level C were less than that of level A and B, but no statistically significant difference. There was no proximal cancellous bone damage observed from the FE analysis.


      Long Cephalomedullary nail with at least two distal locking screws remains a proper implant for subtrochanteric fracture fixation in overall locations. However, short Cephalomedullary nail with two distal screws may be a candidate for a high subtrochanteric fracture. Single dynamic screw insertion is strongly not recommended with either short or long nail regarding implant failure.


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