Femoral nail removal should be restricted in asymptomatic Patients

Thomas Gösling, Tobias Hufner, Stefan Hankemeier, Boris A. Zelle, Assia Muller-Heine, Christian Krettek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Femoral nail removal has been suggested as a routine procedure for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether asymptomatic patients have long-term complaints after femoral nail removal. Additionally, factors that might extend operation time and effect soft tissue healing negatively were analyzed. A retrospective study on the removal of 164 femoral nails after fracture consolidation was done. A review of the patient charts and radiographs was done. Neither the interval between nail implantation and nail removal or the use of an end-cap significantly influenced the operation time. The surgeon's qualification and nail depth were the only variables that influenced operation time. Neither operation time, nail depth, surgeon's qualification, nor the grade of heterotopic ossification significantly influenced the incidence of wound healing problems. One hundred nine patients (73%) were available for the followup interview. Preoperatively, 58 patients (53%) had local complaints. Of these 58 patients, 78% reported improvement and 7% reported an aggravation of their local complaints. Of the 51 patients who were asymptomatic before surgery, 20% reported long-term complaints at followup. Only symptomatic patients should be considered for femoral nail removal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-226
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
StatePublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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