Applied Sciences (Jan 2023)

Extraction of Broken Interlocking Tibial Nails: A Review of Surgical Techniques and Practical Management

  • Mihai Dan Roman,
  • Sorin Radu Fleacă,
  • Cosmin Ioan Mohor,
  • Ciprian Bacila,
  • Dan Bratu,
  • Adrian Teodoru,
  • Bogdan-Axente Bocea,
  • Adrian Gheorghe Boicean

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 3
p. 1645


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Breakage of tibial interlocking nails is a rare complication and is associated with tibial nonunion. The distal part of a broken tibial nail is difficult to extract and can be a real challenge. Preoperative planning is important, as the retrieval techniques of broken implants are not routine operations. There are various techniques and instruments described by different authors with none being uniformly successful. Therefore, surgeons should know as many methods as possible to choose the most suitable one. Minimally invasive retrieval techniques should be favored because of their reduced morbidity, while fenestration extraction methods should be used as the second intention. Cannulated intramedullary nails are more prone to benefitting from minimally invasive retrieval techniques than solid ones. This paper reviews and describes the present techniques used to extract the distal part of broken tibial nails, to serve as a quick guide for surgeons who need it.