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VOLUME 14 , ISSUE 3 ( September-December, 2019 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Preliminary Results with the Shape Memory Nail: A Self-contained Distal Locking Mechanism for Diaphyseal Femur Fractures

Nando Ferreira, Luan Nieuwoudt

Keywords : Distal locking, Femur fracture, Intramedullary nail, Memory metal, Nitinol

Citation Information : Ferreira N, Nieuwoudt L. Preliminary Results with the Shape Memory Nail: A Self-contained Distal Locking Mechanism for Diaphyseal Femur Fractures. 2019; 14 (3):115-120.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10080-1437

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 11-07-2020

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2019; The Author(s).


Distal interlocking of intramedullary nails can be challenging if not done regularly and can be associated with a prolonged operating time and excessive radiation exposure. Multiple techniques have been developed to overcome these problems but all still rely on conventional distal locking methods. Between December 2011 and March 2013, 18 patients with diaphyseal femur fractures were treated with the shape memory nail (Orthofix, Verona, Italy). These nails use self-contained nitinol memory metal ‘wings’ at the distal aspect of the nail to provide rotational and longitudinal stability. We observed fracture union in all 18 cases with no non-unions, rotational malalignments or peri-prosthetic infections. Median theatre time was 35 (18–71) minutes and median total radiation time was 50 (20–209) seconds. The shape memory nail (Orthofix, Verona, Italy) is an attractive alternative to conventional interlocking femoral nails. It provides sufficient stability to allow fracture union while decreasing theater time and limiting radiation exposure.

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