Spread of infection, in an animal model, after intramedullary nailing of an infected external fixator pin track

J Orthop Res. 2001 Jan;19(1):155-9. doi: 10.1016/S0736-0266(00)00023-1.


Implant sepsis. due to previous external fixator pin track infection, is the most common complication of secondary intramedullary (IM) nailing of the tibia. We have developed an animal model, which allows different treatment methods to be studied. Using an established ovine model of a pin track infection, Staphylococcus aureus was used to infect the external fixator pins, two weeks prior to reamed IM nailing. In the control group, the animals were killed at a mean of 10.5 days following nailing, when widespread infection was evident, with septic arthritis, abscess formation, and infection of the entire length of the tibia in all six animals. In the treatment group, before IM nailing, the pin sites were debrided, and both local and systemic antibiotics were administered. All surgical wounds healed without evidence of infection, 4 of the 6 animals survived for 28 days, and bacteria were only isolated from 1 of the 6 implants. Treatment was successful at reducing, but not eliminating, infection after secondary nailing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Nails
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • External Fixators / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / adverse effects*
  • Sheep
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Infections / etiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification