Risk of Arterial Injury During Hip Internal Fixation

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Background:Injury to femoral arterial vessels is a risk with internal fixation of the hip. Understanding the anatomy of proximate vessels, particularly medial vessels not directly visualized, may reduce intraoperative and postoperative complications.Methods:We analyzed 47 patients (29 men and 18 women) using a computed tomographic (CT) angiogram of the lower limbs. The mean age of our patients was 69 years (range, 46 to 88 years). The distance from the tip of the greater trochanter to the profunda femoris and its perforators within 5 mm of the medial femoral shaft was measured along the length of the expected placement of typical dynamic hip screw constructs and other proximal femoral fracture fixation methods.Results:All patients were found to have 2 perforator vessels within 5 mm of the medial femoral shaft along the line of dynamic hip screw insertion (up to 200 mm from the tip of the greater trochanter). The first perforator was found at a mean distance of 112.6 mm (median, 110 mm) in women and at 123.4 mm (median, 122 mm) in men (p = 0.0066) from the tip of the greater trochanter. The second perforator appeared at a mean distance of 159.7 mm (median, 159 mm) in women and 178.9 mm (median, 180 mm) in men (p = 0.0028) from the tip of the greater trochanter.Conclusions:Surgeons should be aware of the presence of 2 arteries within 5 mm of the medial femoral shaft during femoral internal fixation procedures. We suggest avoiding the overdrilling of the medial cortex and the insertion of overlong screws along the femoral shaft from 110 to 120 mm in women and 120 to 130 mm in men (as measured from the tip of the greater trochanter) to prevent vascular injury during proximal femoral fracture fixation.Clinical Relevance:This article can assist orthopaedic surgeons in planning for procedures involving internal fixation of the hip and may reduce vascular complications from such procedures.

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