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March 16, 1979

New intramedullary nail aids femur fracture healing

JAMA. 1979;241(11):1089. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290370005003

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A new "closed" operative procedure using an intra-medullary nail to treat fractures of the proximal portion of the femur has been developed by California orthopedic surgeon Leslie J. Harris, MD. Harris, assistant clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine, designed the nail from a titanium 6-aluminum 4 vanadium alloy—an elastic-like metal—to restore rapid functioning and weight bearing in elderly, often debilitated patients suffering from intertrochanteric and subtrochanteric fractures.

"This new prosthesis is more flexible than existing stainless steel and cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloys," Harris told JAMA MEDICAL NEWS, "and it returns to its original shape after it has been straightened for insertion. Its ultimate strength is also comparable with that of existing substances." The end result is reduced operative trauma, lessened operative mortality and morbidity, and shorter convalescence, he said. Some patients are up and walking within a day of the operation compared with