DOI: 10.1302/1358-992x.2024.1.077 ISSN: 1358-992X


B. Gueorguiev, P. Varga

Intramedullary nails (IMNs) are the current gold standard for treatment of long bone diaphyseal and selected metaphyseal fractures. Their design has undergone many revisions to improve fixation techniques, conform to the bone shape with appropriate anatomic fit, reduce operative time and radiation exposure, and extend the indication of the same implant for treatment of different fracture types with minimal soft tissue irritation.

The IMNs are made or either titanium alloy or stainless steel and work as load-sharing internal splints along the long bone, usually accommodating locking elements – screws and blades, often featuring angular stability and offering different configurations for multiplanar fixation – to secure secondary fracture healing with callus formation in a relative-stability environment. Bone cement augmentation of the locking elements can modulate the construct stiffness, increase the surface area at the bone-implant interface, and prevent cut-through of the locking elements.

The functional requirements of IMNs are related to maintaining fracture reduction in terms of length, alignment and rotation to enhance fracture healing. The load distribution during patient's activities is along the entire bone-nail interface, with nail length and anatomic fit being important factors to avoid stress risers.

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