Provisional Plating of Subtrochanteric Femur Fractures Before Intramedullary Nailing in the Lateral Decubitus Position
Subtrochanteric femur fractures remain a challenge for surgeons to obtain and maintain adequate reduction and stable fixation. For this reason, multiple techniques have been described, but we are unaware of a detailed contemporary description of the combination of provisional plating before intramedullary fixation in the lateral decubitus position. We present our technique as it was used from 2011 to 2015 to treat 22 fractures and how it compared clinically to the other 48 subtrochanteric femur fractures treated during that period. The clinical and radiographic outcomes for all fractures were evaluated. The operative time was shorter when no open reduction was used but open cases showed no significant difference when using a provisional plate. Those patients treated with provisional plating were shown to have higher blood loss values and longer operative times, but when looking at the outcomes, the rate of malunion, which was defined as >5 degrees of angulation on postoperative radiographs, was significantly lower at 0% in the provision plating in the lateral decubitus position subset compared with the remaining subtrochanteric fractures, 27.7% (P = 0.013). As the quality of reduction and stability of fixation are the most significant factors in determining outcomes of subtrochanteric femur fractures, this study shows that this technique is a valuable tool in an orthopaedist's armamentarium and present it as such.