Ideal Tibial Intramedullary Nail Insertion Point Varies With Tibial Rotation

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Abstract

Objectives:

The aim of the study was to investigate how superior entry point varies with tibial rotation and to identify landmarks that can be used to identify suitable radiographs for successful intramedullary nail insertion.

Methods:

The proximal tibia and knee were imaged for 12 cadaveric limbs undergoing 5° increments of internal and external rotation. Medial and lateral arthrotomies were performed, the ideal superior entry point was identified, and a 2-mm Kirschner wire inserted. A second Kirschner wire was sequentially placed at the 5-mm and then the 10-mm position, both medial and lateral to the initial Kirschner wire. Radiographs of the knee were obtained for all increments. The changing position of the ideal nail insertion point was recorded.

Results:

A 30° arc (range, 25°–40°) provided a suitable anteroposterior radiograph. On the neutral anteroposterior radiograph, the Kirschner wire was 54% ± 1.5% (range, 51–56%) from the medial edge of the tibial plateau. For every 5° of rotation, the Kirschner wire moved 3% of the plateau width. During external rotation, a misleading medial entry point was obtained. A fibular bisector line correlated with an entry point that was ideal or up to 5 mm lateral to this but never medial. The film that best showed the fibular bisector line was between 0° and 10° of internal rotation of the tibia.

Conclusions:

The fibula head bisector line can be used to avoid choosing external rotation views and, thus, avoid medial insertion points. The current results may help the surgeon prevent malalignment during intramedullary nailing in proximal tibial fractures.

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