The lateral approach is used for insertion of fixation devices after closed reduction of a proximal femoral fracture. Reduction of a displaced fracture is usually done with a fracture table, or alternatively a large distractor spanning the hip joint.
After satisfactory reduction is confirmed by image intensifier, the lateral approach can be used for insertion of a sliding hip screw or multiple screws. The approach provides limited access to the lateral surface of the femur sufficient for hardware placement.
The incision can be extended proximally to accommodate a trochanteric stabilizing plate (TSP), or even anteriorly so that it becomes an anterolateral approach with direct, although limited, access to the femoral neck.