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Are Inflatable Nails an Alternative to Interlocked Nails in Tibial Fractures?

By Jesper Blomquist, Odd J. Lundberg, Nils R. Gjerdet and Anders Mølster


Recently developed inflatable nails avoid reaming and interlocking screws in tibial fractures and reflect a new principle for stabilization of long bone fractures. We asked if the bending stiffness, rotational rigidity, or play (looseness of rotation) differed between an inflatable versus large-diameter reamed interlocked nails, and whether the maximal torque to failure of the two bone-implant constructs differed. In a cadaveric model, we compared the biomechanical properties with those of an interlocked nail in eight pairs of fractured tibial bones. Bending stiffness, rotational rigidity, play (looseness in rotation), and torsional strength within 20° rotation were investigated using a biaxial servohydraulic testing system. For all biomechanical variables, we found a large interindividual variance between the pairs attributable to bone quality (osteoporosis) for both fixation methods. The inflatable nail had a higher bending stiffness, with a mean difference of 58 N/mm, and a lower torsional strength, with a mean difference of 13.5 Nm, compared with the locked nail. During torsional testing we noted slippage between the inflatable nail and bone. We observed no differences in play or rotational rigidity. Given the lower torsional strength we recommend caution with weightbearing until there are signs of fracture consolidation

Topics: Original Article
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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