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J Biomech. 2007;40(1):215-9. Epub 2005 Dec 22.

Development of a locking femur nail for mice.

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Department of Trauma, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Saarland, D-66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.


We herein report on a novel locking intramedullary nail system in a murine closed femur fracture model. The nail system consists of a modified 24-gauge injection needle and a 0.1-mm-diameter tungsten guide wire. Rotation stability was accomplished by flattening the proximal and distal end of the needle. Torsional mechanical testing of the implants in osteotomized cadaveric femora revealed a superiority of the locking nail (3.9+/-1.0 degrees rotation at a torque of 0.9 Nmm, n=10) compared to the unmodified injection needle (conventional nail; 52.4+/-3.2 degrees, n=10, p<0.05). None of the implants, however, achieved the rotation stability of unfractured femora (0.3+/-0.5 degrees, n=10). In a second step, we tested the feasibility of the in vivo application of the locking nail to stabilize a closed femoral midshaft fracture in C57BL/6 mice. Of interest, none of the 10 animals showed a dislocation of the locking nail over a 5-week period, while 3 of 4 animals with conventional nail fracture stabilization showed a significant pin dislocation within the first 3 days (p<0.05). Mechanical testing after 5-weeks stabilization with the locking nail revealed an appropriate bone healing with a torque at failure of 71.6+/-3.4% and a peak rotation before failure of 68.4+/-5.3% relative to the unfractured contralateral femur. With the advantage that closed fractures can be fixed with rotation stability, the herein introduced model may represent an ideal tool to study bone healing in transgenic and knockout mice.

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