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Open Access Technical advance

A sonography assisted technique for the removal of a femoral interlocking nail – a technical note

Kai-Jow Tsai12*, Po-Wen Shen1 and William C Hutton2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery Cathay General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Emory Orthopaedic and Spine Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2005, 6:51  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-51

Published: 17 October 2005



Open methods for removal of femoral interlocking nails involve an incision (up to 10 cm) over the trochanter to find the tip of the nail. The distal locking screws are some times difficult to palpate and an incision (up to about 5 cm) is often needed for exposure. Intra-operative fluoroscopy is often used as an adjunct technique to minimize the surgical wound. However, patients and surgeons are exposed to a radiation hazard. Sonography can provide a real-time and efficient alternative to fluoroscopy.


Sonography of soft tissue has been established to identify a foreign body. A metallic implant has a hyperechoic image; therefore, we can identify the correct position of the screws preoperatively and intraoperatively.


We have developed a technique using sonography and minimal incisions for the removal of a femoral interlocking nail. The proximal wound is 2.5 cm in length and the wound is 0.5 cm in length for each distal locking screw.


The sonography can be used to minimize the length of incision and prevent radiation exposure in the removal of intramedullary femoral nails.