A new technique for internal fixation of femoral fractures in mice: impact of stability on fracture healing

J Biomech. 2008;41(8):1689-96. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.03.010. Epub 2008 May 6.


Mouse models are of increasing interest to study the molecular aspects of fracture healing. Because biomechanical factors greatly influence the healing process, stable fixation of the fracture is of interest also in mouse models. Unlike in large animals, however, there is a lack of mouse models which provide stable osteosynthesis. The purpose of this study was therefore to develop a technique for a more stable fixation of femoral fractures in mice and to analyze the impact of stability on the process of fracture healing. The new technique introduced herein includes an intramedullary pin and an extramedullary metallic clip. Ex vivo biomechanical analysis revealed a significantly higher implant stiffness of our pin-clip technique when compared with previously described intramedullary fixation techniques. In vivo, we studied the course of healing after the more stable fixation with our pin-clip technique and compared the results with that observed after unstable fixation with the pin-clip technique after cutting the clip. After 2 and 5 weeks of fracture healing radiological analysis demonstrated that the more stable fixation with the pin-clip technique results in a significantly higher union rate compared to the unstable fixation. Torsional stiffness at 5 weeks was almost 3-fold of that measured after unstable fixation. Histomorphological analysis further showed that fractures stabilized with the pin-clip technique healed with a smaller periosteal callus area, an increased fraction of bone and a reduced amount of fibrous tissue. Of interest, the pin-clip fixation showed reliable union after 5 weeks, whereas the unstable pin fixation did not regularly achieve adequate fracture healing. In conclusion, we introduce a novel, easily applicable internal osteosynthesis technique in mice, which provides rotational stability after femoral fracture fixation. We further show that a more stable osteosynthesis significantly improves the process of fracture healing also in mice.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Femoral Fractures / surgery*
  • Femur / surgery
  • Fracture Fixation, Internal / methods*
  • Fracture Healing / physiology*
  • Mice