Incomplete Intertrochanteric Fracture: A Pattern Analysis Using Multiplanar Reformation Computed Tomography

Hee Joong Kim, Jae Youn Yoon, Sunhyung Lee, Kangbaek Kim, Jeong Joon Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Incomplete fractures are assumed to occur in the intertrochanteric area as fractures at other sites, but reports of incomplete intertrochanteric fractures (IIFs) are rare. In 1999, Schultz et al. defined isolated greater trochanter fractures (GTFs) as IIFs when intertrochanteric extension is observed on magnetic resonance (MR) images. On multiplanar reformation computed to-mography (MPR CT) images acquired for further study of apparently isolated GTFs, we noted incomplete cortical breakage in the in-tertrochanteric area. We then found that the fracture line was incomplete on plain radiographs in some intertrochanteric fractures. We evaluated IIFs and apparently isolated GTFs using MPR CT and analyzed the fracture patterns of IIFs that were confirmed using MPR CT. Methods: Between February 2006 and June 2019, 36 cases of IIF were detected using MPR CT in 36 patients. They were 17 women and 19 men with a mean age of 74.7 years (range, 26–94 years). Plain radiographs and MPR CT images were evaluated by two experienced orthopedic surgeons. In addition, MR imaging was performed in 5 cases. Results: Plain radiographs showed no evidence of fracture in 2 cases, isolated GTF in 7 cases, and IIF in 27 cases. In all cases, incomplete cortical breakage in the intertrochanteric area was confirmed on MPR CT images. Cortical breakage was located in the anterior portion of the intertrochanteric area, whereas the posterior portion remained intact in all cases. The detection rate of cortical breakage was higher on coronal or sagittal images than that on axial images. On MR images of 5 cases, intertrochanteric extensions were found in the medullary space. All extensions originated in the greater trochanter area and extended anteriorly in the axial plane and inferomedially in the coronal plane. On the T1-weighted mid-coronal image, the extension reached or passed the midline in 3 cases, and cortical breakage was detected in only 2 cases. Conclusions: In all cases of IIF, cortical breakage was detected in the anterior portion of the proximal femur, leaving the posterior cortex intact. This finding is notably different from that of intertrochanteric extension (from posterior to anterior) detected on MR images of isolated GTFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-334
Number of pages7
JournalCiOS Clinics in Orthopedic Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022


  • Incomplete
  • Intertrochanteric fracture
  • Pattern analysis
  • Three-dimensional computed tomography


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