The prevention of infection in open fractures: an experimental study of the effect of fracture stability

Injury. 1994 Jan;25(1):31-8. doi: 10.1016/0020-1383(94)90181-3.


An experimental model of a contaminated open fracture has been developed. This model has been used to test the hypothesis that stable fixation of a contaminated open fracture will reduce its susceptibility to infection. The tibiae of male New Zealand white rabbits were fractured and then fixed with either a dynamic compression plate (stable group) or a loose-fitting intramedullary rod (unstable group). The fracture site was then inoculated with a standard inoculum of Staphylococcus aureus. There were 20 rabbits in the stable group and osteomyelitis developed in seven (35 per cent); in the unstable group 15 (71 per cent) out of 21 animals developed osteomyelitis. This difference in infection rates was statistically significant (P < 0.02). This experimental study supports the concept of stabilization of open fractures in man.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fracture Fixation / methods*
  • Fracture Fixation, Intramedullary
  • Fractures, Open / pathology
  • Fractures, Open / surgery*
  • Male
  • Osteomyelitis / prevention & control
  • Rabbits
  • Radiography
  • Tibia / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibia / pathology
  • Tibial Fractures / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Fractures / pathology
  • Tibial Fractures / surgery*
  • Wound Infection / diagnostic imaging
  • Wound Infection / pathology
  • Wound Infection / prevention & control*