Defining Cephalomedullary Nail Breakage Rates: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To establish the background rate of breakage of cephalomedullary nails. DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, PubMed, and Web of Science were searched on April 3, 2023. STUDY SELECTION: All English-language studies that examined trochanteric with or without subtrochanteric fractures and identified cephalomedullary nail breakage as an outcome measure and a breakage rate could be derived were included. Implants captured were predominantly the TFNA, TFN, and PFN by DePuy Synthes, various versions of the Gamma nail by Stryker, the Zimmer Natural Nail by Zimmer Biomet, and the Intertan by Smith and Nephew. DATA EXTRACTION: The author, year of publication, dates of implant insertion, study design, method of detection of breakages, implant used, number of implant breakages, number of implants inserted, breakage rate, and follow-up were extracted. DATA SYNTHESIS: Meta-analysis of included studies used descriptive nonparametric statistics and a noncomparative proportion for the pooled result. Differences in results between study design types were compared using the mean breakage rate per study design. CONCLUSIONS: Cephalomedullary nail breakage is a rare complication with a median reported rate of 0.6% and a pooled result rate of 0.4%. Ninety-five percent of studies had a breakage rate of 1.3% or less, which sets a benchmark from the reported literature for future studies. There is wide variability in rates of breakage reported between different types of study designs with single-center review studies reporting breakage rates nearly 4-fold greater than large-scale administrative database reviews. The rate of implant breakage should not be used in isolation to judge an implant's performance. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S33-S40
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Trauma
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

Cite this