Implant Fracture Analysis of the TFNA Proximal Femoral Nail

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BACKGROUND: Mechanical failure of intramedullary nails is rare. This investigation was prompted by a series of cases of observed breakage of the recently introduced TFNA Proximal Femoral Nailing System (TFN [Trochanteric Fixation Nail]-Advanced; DePuy Synthes) in our region. Laboratory analysis and case data are presented, in contribution to post-market surveillance. METHODS: Medical and imaging records from the 3 public tertiary orthopaedic trauma hospitals in Western Australia were reviewed. Relevant data of patients in whom breakage of the TFNA implant occurred between 2016 and 2018 were collected and analyzed. Laboratory review of retrieved implants was conducted at the Centre for Implant Technology and Retrieval Analysis (CITRA) in Western Australia. RESULTS: A total of 16 cases of TFNA implant breakage were recorded and analyzed. The predominant OTA/AO fracture classification was 31A3 (12 cases, 75%). The reduction quality was good in 10 cases, acceptable in 4 cases, and poor in 2 cases. The mean time to failure (and standard deviation) was 5.0 ± 2.2 months (range, 2.2 to 9.8 months). The treatment modality for the breakage was revision nailing in 11 cases, arthroplasty in 3, and nonoperative management in 2. All nails broke at the proximal screw aperture, with 1 nail additionally breaking at the distal aperture. Of 8 patients treated with a second TFNA implant for nail breakage, 3 (38%) returned with breakage of the revision implant. Laboratory analysis of the broken nails demonstrated a unique fracture pattern, with a stepped propagation pathway. CONCLUSIONS: This study represents the largest series, to our knowledge, of proximal femoral nail breakages in the published English literature and is the first that we are aware of to involve laboratory analysis of the TFNA implant. Changes to the nail design and/or alloy may have contributed to the observed cases of breakage, and this study will be followed by an evaluation of breakage rates in comparison with those of previous generations of nailing systems. We advise close clinical and radiographic surveillance of patients with unstable hip fracture patterns who undergo osteosynthesis with use of a TFNA implant. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-811
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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