Background: Intraoperative technical complications are occasionally encountered while implanting intramedullary nails for subtrochanteric fractures. Surgeons must pay attention to the pitfalls and remedial technique of this operation.
Methods: We report on three cases in which intraoperative difficulties occurred during the implantation of an intramedullary nail among Han Chinese patients from mainland China. In Case 1, during an operation on a 57-year-old man, a seinsheimer type V in a right subtrochanteric fracture was not fully realized, and the dislocation of intertrochanteric fracture was aggravated after reduction of the subtrochanteric fracture. The intramedullary nail fixation was completed with the aid of an additional anterolateral plate. Case 2 involved a transverse subtrochanteric fracture. The surgeon neglected the coronal dislocation when considering good sagittal reduction. Although an auxiliary reduction device was used during the operation, there was unacceptable coronal dislocation after the intramedullary nail was inserted. A temporary anterolateral locking plate fixation was used to complete the intramedullary nail fixation. Case 3 involved an old trochanteric fracture combined with a new subtrochanteric fracture in an 81-year-old woman. After reducing the subtrochanteric fractures, the intramedullary nail fixation was successfully completed by releasing the poorly healed intertrochanteric fractures and fixing the anterior lateral plate.
Results: With the development of techniques, reliable results can be obtained with fewer complications. Of the various internal fixation methods, we favor using a trochanteric start intramedullary nail.
Conclusions: The treatment of subtrochanteric fractures presents challenges. Good reduction and reliable temporary fixation are key to completing the intramedullary nailing. If percutaneous joysticks, finger reduction tools, blocking screws, clamps, and Schanz pins cannot be used for effective auxiliary reduction or temporary reliable fixation, reduction after intramedullary nailing will not be satisfactory. The temporary addition of a reconstruction locking plate can achieve good reduction and temporary stability, and an extra reconstruction locking plate should be retained when the temporary fixation device is removed to reduce the risk of internal fixation failure during fracture healing.