Antegrade femoral nailing in the lateral decubitus position: a case series, technical tips and review of literature

P. Johnsen, J. Satpathy, N. K. Patel, E. Hansen, V. Mounasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Femoral intramedullary nailing is traditionally performed with the patient supine on a fracture table. We aimed to describe a case series of femoral intramedullary nailing for fracture in the lateral position, with discussion of the operative technique. Methods: A retrospective analysis identified 52 patients who underwent femoral intramedullary nailing performed in a lateral position without traction over a 5-year period at a single level 1 trauma center. Medical records were reviewed for demographics, blood loss including need for transfusion, operative duration, complications, length of stay, fracture union, re-operation and death. Results: There were 24 subtrochanteric, 16 peri-trochanteric and 12 diaphyseal femoral fractures. Mean operative time was 136.2 ± 101.4 min with a mean estimated blood loss of 372.5 ± 349.6 ml. Seventeen patients required blood transfusion. Mean length of stay was 10.3 ± 8.1 days. There were 3 (5.8%) surgical (compartment syndrome, infection and retained drain) and 12 (23.1%) medical complications, with a 30-day mortality rate of 3.8% (2). Mean follow-up was 9.9 ± 8.7 months. The union rate was 94.2% (49) and 3.8% (2) patients required revision fixation (hardware exchange for irritation and exchange nailing for non-union). Discharge destination was home, rehabilitation center and specialized nursing facility in 21 (40.4%), 16 (30.8%) and 15 (28.8%) patients, respectively. Discussion and conclusion: Femoral intramedullary nailing in the lateral decubitus position is a useful technique of managing peri-trochanteric, subtrochanteric and diaphyseal femoral fractures. We describe a known technique with technical tips, which has distinct advantages over traditional supine positioning especially in certain patient and fracture types. In addition, operative times, blood loss, length of stay, revision and outcomes were comparable to the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-384
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Femur
  • Lateral position
  • Nailing
  • Supine position

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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