Technique for producing controlled closed fractures in a rabbit model

J Orthop Res. 1994 Sep;12(5):732-6. doi: 10.1002/jor.1100120516.


We describe a new technique to produce a closed fracture of the rabbit tibia with reproducible location and shape of the fracture. The hindlimb of a New Zealand White rabbit was enclosed in a bivalved cast, a 1.5 mm diameter hole was drilled through the lateral tibial cortex, and the tibia was fractured by loading in three-point bending in an arbor press. The cast protected the soft tissues from being crushed while it concentrated the bending moment at the intended fracture site. The cortical hole functioned as a stress riser and fracture initiation site, such that the influence of the loading rate on the fracture characteristics was minimized. Transverse fractures or oblique fractures at any desired angle could be produced by variations of the position of the cortical drill hole relative to the central loading point. Thirty-four tibial fractures (18 transverse and 16 oblique) were produced. The rabbits were killed immediately, and the fracture angle and the extent of tissue damage were evaluated radiographically, as well as macroscopically. This method produced a consistent location of the fracture, with 88% reproducibility of the fracture angle and only minor damage to the adjacent soft tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Fractures, Closed*
  • Orthopedics / methods*
  • Rabbits