We report a comparative study between an inflatable expandable nail and a traditional locked intramedullary implant in closed fractures of the femoral shaft. We matched each of 43 patients who had undergone intramedullary fixation with an inflatable expandable nail with a patient of the same sex, age (within 2 years), and fracture who had undergone statically locked intramedullary fixation with traditional nails. The mean duration of surgery was significantly shorter in the patients who were treated with the inflatable expandable nail. There were no differences in average blood loss, transfusion requirements, or hospitalization. Five of the patients who underwent traditional nailing required dynamization to achieve union. The inflatable expandable nail allows effective management of diaphyseal fractures of the femur. Interlocking is not necessary, operative times are reduced, and exposure to ionizing radiation is minimized. At present, however, the inflatable expandable nail used in the this investigation is markedly more expensive than traditional devices.
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