Femur Fracture Fixation (Stryker® Gamma Nail)
Due to its heavy use, if the femur is fractured and needs surgery for repair, the fracture fixation needs to be heavy-duty. This brings in the use of the Stryker® gamma nail, which is used for repairing femur fractures that help the bone heal properly. When a person fractures their femur, sometimes it occurs near the top of the femur by the hip. If broken at the upper end, this can cause hip issues and cause the patient to become unable to walk. The Stryker® gamma nail helps patients recover more quickly and have better long-term healing.
Common Causes of Femur Fracture
A femur fracture that occurs at the upper end of the femur is uncommon because it is generally caused by extreme physical trauma. This usually means a motor vehicle accident or a fall from a great height. Most of these breaks are accompanied by other serious injuries like hip dislocation and so this surgery can help the patient’s recovery greatly. Other causes of femoral fractures include bone weakness. This could happen in a young person with a condition like cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. This can also occur in elderly patients with osteoporosis or other bone problems who might fall and break their femur. Falls are common ways to injure the femur, because the head of the femur is the first thing someone lands on if they land on their side.
Basics of Femur Fracture Fixation Using a Stryker® Gamma Nail
This surgery is moderately invasive and repairs and strengthens the fractured femur bone. There are three steps involved once the patient has been placed under anesthetic and prepped for the surgery.
First Incision: Placement of the Nail
The first incision of the surgery is made near the top of the femur to reveal the fractured area. This is the largest incision made during the surgery. The surgeon realigns the fractured bones and drills a hole from the top of the femur into the femoral shaft. This first hole is where the Stryker® gamma nail is inserted. The nail is hollow inside and has two other openings on the sides. The next incisions will be made to line up with these other openings.
Second Incision: Stabilizing
Once the Stryker® gamma nail has been placed where the surgeon wants, the second incision is made. This incision lines up with a hole that is about one third of the way down the nail. The surgeon drills a hole through the bone, through the hole in the Stryker® gamma nail, up into the ball portion of the femur. This is the part of the femur that connects to the hip, in a ball and socket type joint. The hole is then filled by another stabilizing rod. This is screwed into place through the nail, creating a skewed “t” shape that follows the shape of the femur. Another small screw is placed and secures the rod inside the hollow main nail.
Third Incision: Distal Screw
A small third incision is created at the very bottom of the Stryker® gamma nail. This small incision reveals a place where the nail has a hole perpendicular to the very bottom. A small hole is drilled in the femur to reveal the hole in the placed nail. A small screw is then inserted to keep the nail from being pulled out of the femur from the top. Then, a cap is placed on the head of the Stryker® gamma nail, to seal the entire thing together.
Recovery After Femur Fracture Fixation
Once the surgery has been completed, the patient is able to return home after a few days in the hospital. This does depend on any other injuries they may have sustained from the initial accident that caused the fracture. After a few weeks, a follow up appointment is made to make sure the hardware has not moved and that the femur is growing back together. Most patients take several months to be able to regain normal use of their leg. Most doctors prescribe physical therapy to help the patient regain mobility as quickly as possible.