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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2009 July; 91(5): 439.
PMCID: PMC2758457
Technical Notes and Tips
Bruce Campbell, Section Editor

A Radiolucent Retractor for Locking Screws

During proximal locking of a retrograde femoral intramedullary nail, retraction can be difficult when using traditional radio-opaque retractors. A 50-ml syringe, such as BD Plastipak™ (BD, The Danby Building, Edmund Halley Road, Oxford Science Park, Oxford, UK), with the catheter tip cut off, either with scissors or a saw, can be placed directly onto bone via the skin incision. This easily retracts the tissues allowing access to the proximal femur with the added benefit of being radiolucent. This allows the surgeon to interpret the fluoroscopy findings accurately and position the proximal locking screw precisely. Furthermore, the surgical assistant is protected from erroneous exposure to radiation whilst screening.

Figure 1

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Object name is rcse9105-439b-01.jpg

Syringe placed onto saw bone demonstrating retraction technique.

Articles from Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England are provided here courtesy of The Royal College of Surgeons of England