Early intramedullary nailing in an animal model of a heavily contaminated fracture of the tibia

J Orthop Res. 2002 Jul;20(4):648-53. doi: 10.1016/S0736-0266(01)00163-2.


An ovine model was developed to study the outcome following intramedullary nailing of a heavily contaminated fracture. Animals in the control group received no treatment directed at controlling infection, whereas those in the treatment group received wound debridement, lavage and the use of appropriate systemic antibiotics. Despite this, infection developed at the osteotomy site and along the entire length of the implant in all animals in both groups. It was felt that standard methods of wound management might be inadequate when applied at the time of intramedullary nailing since the spread of contamination following the use of reamers was demonstrated in all animals. Results from this study support the clinical impression that heavily contaminated fractures should not be treated by primary intramedullary nailing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Nails*
  • Debridement
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary / methods*
  • Radiography
  • Sheep
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Tibial Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Fractures / microbiology
  • Tibial Fractures / surgery*