Medial submuscular plating of the femur in a series of paediatric patients

Medial submuscular plating of the femur in a series of paediatric patients

a useful alternative to standard lateral techniques

  1. A. J. Roche, MSc, FRCS(Tr & Orth), Consultant Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon4 Author Profile
+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Royal Liverpool Children’s Hospital, Department of Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, Alder Hey, Eaton Road, Liverpool L12 2AP, UK.

  2. 2Norfolk and Norwich NHS Foundation Trust, Colney Lane, Norwich NR4 7UY, UK.

  3. 3Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, 308433, Singapore.

  4. 4Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 369 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH, UK.
  1. Correspondence should be sent to Mr A. J. Roche;


We describe the technique and results of medial submuscular plating of the femur in paediatric patients and discuss its indications and limitations. Specifically, the technique is used as part of a plate-after-lengthening strategy, where the period of external fixation is reduced and the plate introduced by avoiding direct contact with the lateral entry wounds of the external fixator pins. The technique emphasises that vastus medialis is interposed between the plate and the vascular structures.
A total of 16 patients (11 male and five female, mean age 9.6 years (5 to 17)), had medial submuscular plating of the femur. All underwent distraction osteogenesis of the femur with a mean lengthening of 4.99 cm (3.2 to 12) prior to plating. All patients achieved consolidation of the regenerate without deformity. The mean follow-up was 10.5 months (7 to 15) after plating for those with plates still in situ, and 16.3 months (1 to 39) for those who subsequently had their plates removed. None developed a deep infection. In two patients a proximal screw fractured without loss of alignment; one patient sustained a traumatic fracture six months after removal of the plate.
Placing the plate on the medial side is advantageous when the external fixator is present on the lateral side, and is biomechanically optimal in the presence of a femoral defect. We conclude that medial femoral submuscular plating is a useful technique for specific indications and can be performed safely with a prior understanding of the regional anatomy.
Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:137–42.


  • The author or one or more of the authors have received or will receive benefits for professional use from a commercial party related indirectly to the subject of this paper.
    This article was primary edited by J. Scott and first-proof edited by G. Scott.
  • Received January 12, 2013.
  • Accepted August 20, 2013.
  • ©2014 The British Editorial Society of Bone & Joint Surgery