eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2017   Volume No 34 – pages 99-107

Title: Reamed locked intramedullary nailing for studying femur fracture and its complications

Authors: O Yoshino, J Brady, K Young, B Hardy, R Matthys, T Buxton, R Appleyard, J Tomka, D Dabirrahmani, P Woodford, M Fadia, R Steck, A Quail, RG Richards, ZJ Balogh

Address:  Department of Traumatology, University of Newcastle and John Hunter Hospital, 2310 Newcastle, NSW, Australia

E-mail: zsolt.balogh at

Key Words: Rabbit, animal model, intramedullary nailing, fracture healing, non-union.

Publication date: September 11th 2017

Abstract: Morbidity associated with femur fractures in polytrauma patients is known to be high. The many unsolved clinical questions include the immunological effect of the fracture and its fixation, timing of fracture fixation, management of fracture non-union, effect of infection and critical size of bone defects. The aim of this study was to establish a clinically-relevant and reproducible animal model with regards to histological, biomechanical and radiological changes during bone healing. A custom-designed intramedullary nail with interlocking system (RabbitNail, RISystem AG, Davos Platz, Switzerland) was used for fixation, following femur fracture. New Zealand White rabbits were assigned to two groups: 1. closed fracture model (CF; non-survival model: n = 6, survival model: n = 3) with unilateral mid-shaft femur fracture created by blunt force; 2. osteotomy model (OT; survival model: n = 14) with unilateral transverse osteotomy creating femur fracture. There were no intraoperative complications and full-weight bearing was achieved in all survival rabbits. Significant periosteal reaction and callus formation were confirmed from 2 weeks postoperatively, with a significant volume formation (739.59 ± 62.14 mm3) at 8 weeks confirmed by micro-computed tomography (µ-CT). 2 months after fixation, there was no difference between the osteotomised and contralateral control femora in respect to the maximum torque (3.47 ± 0.35 N m vs. 3.26 ± 0.37 N m) and total energy (21.11 ± 3.09 N m × degree vs. 20.89 ± 2.63 N m × degree) required to break the femur. The data confirmed that a standardised internal fixation technique with an intramedullary nail for closed fracture or osteotomy produced satisfactory bone healing. It was concluded that important clinically-relevant studies can be conducted using this rabbit model.

Article download: Pages 99-107 (PDF file)