Development of an Interlocked Nail for Segmental Defects in the Rabbit Tibia

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Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine


Previous animal models have been developed to study intramedullary nailing for challenging segmental defects in the tibia. In large animals, interlocked nail fixation created a stable environment suitable to study new bone growth technologies placed in the defect. To our knowledge, there are no comparable interlocked tibial defect models for the rabbit in which new technologies could be evaluated. Such a model would be helpful since the rabbit is a popular initial model for orthopedic research studies owing to its wide availability and low cost. While numerous studies have nailed the rabbit tibia, all were non-locked implants that allowed some degree of instability between the fracture fragments. In addition, the non-locked nails were constructed of stainless steel, whereas human nails are increasingly made from titanium alloy. In the current study, an interlocked titanium nail was developed for the rabbit tibia. It was implanted in cadaver tibiae and subjected to fatigue cycling in combined compression and bending at physiologic levels to 21,061 cycles. This duration is estimated to represent 12 weeks of gait by the animal. Before and after fatigue cycling, monotonic testing was performed in compression and bending at physiologic levels. The intact contralateral limbs served as controls. All limbs completed the cycling; the instrumented limbs exhibited interfragmentary cyclic strain amplitudes during fatigue (616 ± 139 microstrain), which was significantly greater than the control limbs (136 ± 35 microstrain). Monotonic strain amplitudes for the test limbs in bending and compression were 4839 ± 1028 and 542 ± 122 microstrain, respectively; corresponding values for the control bones were 407 ± 118 and 95 ± 38 microstrain, respectively. These data are similar to those presented in prior studies in larger bone models. The current study presents one method for interlocked nail fixation for this complex tibial shaft fracture in a small animal.





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ISSN: 0954-4119, Online ISSN: 2041-3033


© 2012 Institution of Mechanical Engineers