Influence of type of medullary nail on the development of local infection. An experimental study of solid and slotted nails in rabbits

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1994 Nov;76(6):955-9.


Any operation involving the implantation of a foreign body increases the risk of infection. The implant material and its surface, the dead space, and any necrosis or vascular changes play a significant role in susceptibility to infection. We investigated the effect of the dead space in an intramedullary nail on the rate of local infection. We inoculated the intramedullary cavities of rabbit tibiae with various concentrations of a human pathogen, of Staphylococcus aureus strain, and then inserted either a solid or a hollow slotted stainless-steel nail. We found a significantly higher rate of infection after use of the slotted nail (59%) than after the solid nail (27%) (p < 0.05).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Nails / adverse effects*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Equipment Design
  • Internal Fixators / adverse effects*
  • Models, Biological
  • Osteomyelitis / microbiology
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / microbiology*
  • Rabbits
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / diagnosis
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development
  • Tibia / microbiology