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Complex proximal femoral fractures in the elderly managed by reconstruction nailing – complications & outcomes: a retrospective analysis

Ulfin Rethnam13*, James Cordell-Smith2, Thirumoolanathan M Kumar1 and Amit Sinha1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, UK

2 Department of Orthopaedics, Morriston hospital, Swansea, UK

3 11 Ffordd Parc Castell, Bodelwyddan, Rhyl, LL18 5WD, UK

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Journal of Trauma Management & Outcomes 2007, 1:7  doi:10.1186/1752-2897-1-7

Published: 10 December 2007



Unstable proximal femoral fractures and pathological lesions involving the trochanteric region in the elderly comprise an increasing workload for the trauma surgeon as the ageing population increases. This study aims to evaluate use of the Russell-Taylor reconstruction nail (RTRN) in this group with regard to mortality risk, complication rates and final outcome.


Retrospective evaluation of 42 patients aged over 60 years who were treated by reconstruction nailing for proximal femoral fractures over a 4 year period.


Over two-thirds of patients were high anaesthetic risk (ASA > 3) with ischemic heart disease the most common co-morbidity. 4 patients died within 30 days of surgery and 4 patients required further surgery for implant related failure. Majority of patients failed to regain their pre-injury mobility status and fewer than half the patients returned to their original domestic residence.


Favourable fixation of unstable complex femoral fractures in the elderly population can be achieved with the Russell-Taylor reconstruction nail. However, use of this device in this frail population was associated with a high implant complication and mortality rate that undoubtedly reflected the severity of the injury sustained, co-morbidity within the group and the stress of a major surgical procedure.