Plating of femoral shaft fractures. A review of 15 cases.

Seligson D, Mulier T, Keirsbilck S, Been J.

The objective of this study was to define the role, indications and outcome of plating in femur shaft fractures. All femoral shaft fractures admitted and treated by the authors during a 2-year period were analysed. The authors personally treated a total of 135 femur fractures. Of these 135 fractures, 15 (11%) were treated with primary plating. The femoral fractures were classified as grade I (n = 4), grade III (n = 3), grade IV (n = 4), grade V (n = 3), and grade VII (n = 1) (OTA classification). Three patients sustained open fractures (one grade I and two grade II, Gustilo and Anderson classification). Pelvic (6) or ipsilateral lower extremity injuries (4) occurred in 10 of the 15 patients. A total of 23 body areas were injured, most commonly the chest (n = 10), abdomen (n = 5), head (n = 6) and blood vessels (n = 3). There were no infections reported. Two implant failures were noted. Femur plating is a useful technique in polytrauma patients for specific indications where intramedullary nailing (IMN) may be contra-indicated or technically not feasible. Although the postoperative morbidity (ARDS, death) in our study seems to be lower after plating than after intramedullary nailing, the rate of complications of fracture healing (30%) is significantly greater with femur plating than with intramedullary nailing (12%).