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Eighty consecutive patients with unstable trochanteric femoral fractures treated by the Ender technique have been studied. Early fixation failure was seen in 18% of patients. Leg shortening and external rotation deformities due to uncontrolled fragmentary collapse were found in almost 80% of the 57 surviving patients at 3 months, and caused severe disability. The continued use of the Ender technique in unstable fractures is questioned.