Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Gamma nail is frequently used in unstable peri-trochanteric hip fractures. We hypothesised that mechanical failure of the Gamma nail was associated with inadequate proximal three-point fixation. We identified a consecutive series of 299 Gamma nails implanted in 299 patients over a five-year period, 223 of whom fulfilled our inclusion criteria for investigation. The series included 61 men and 162 women with a mean age of 81 years (20 to 101). Their fractures were classified according to the Modified Evans' classification and the quality of fracture reduction was graded. The technical adequacy of three points of proximal fixation was recorded from intra-operative fluoroscopic images, and technical inadequacy for each point was defined. All patients were followed to final follow-up and mechanical failures were identified. A multivariate statistical analysis was performed, adjusting for confounders. A total of 16 failures (7.2%) were identified. The position of the lag screw relative to the lateral cortex was the most important point of proximal fixation, and when inadequate the failure rate was 25.8% (eight of 31: odds ratio 7.5 (95% confidence interval 2.5 to 22.7), p < 0.001). Mechanical failure of the Gamma nail in peri-trochanteric femoral fractures is rare (< 1%) when three-point proximal fixation is achieved. However, when proximal fixation is inadequate, failure rates increase. The strongest predictor of failure is positioning the lateral end of the lag screw short of the lateral cortex. Adherence to simple technical points minimises the risk of fixation failure in this vulnerable patient group.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone joint j

Publication Date





825 - 830


Cephalo-medullary nail, Fracture, Gamma nail, Hip fracture, Peri-trochanteric fracture, Trauma, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Bone Nails, Female, Fluoroscopy, Follow-Up Studies, Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary, Hip Fractures, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prosthesis Design, Prosthesis Failure, Range of Motion, Articular, Recovery of Function, Retrospective Studies, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult