Biomechanical comparison of a new expandable intramedullary nail and conventional intramedullary nails for femoral osteosynthesis in dogs
Intramedullary nailing of diaphyseal femoral fractures is a commonly used treatment method in dogs because of its biological and biomechanical advantages compared to bone plating. To achieve adequate resistance of the intramedullary nail against torsional and axial compressive forces, additional application of transcortical screws is needed. As these interlocking screws represent a frequent cause of post-operative complications, a new expandable intramedullary nail (EXPN) was developed, which was designed to provide adequate fracture stabilisation without the need for transcortical fixation. The evaluation of the biomechanical properties of the new EXPN with regard to torsional, compressive and bending stability as well as direct comparison to the biomechanical properties of conventional Steinmann (STMN)- and interlocking (ILN) nails was carried out with different biomechanical test arrangements. No significant statistical differences regarding the torsional and bending resistance between the EXPN and ILN group were seen, which indicates that rotatory as well as bending stability of the innovative EXPN is similar to the conventional ILN. Nevertheless, the percentage deviation between the attempted and successfully reached physiological compressive forces was significantly higher (p = 0.045) in the EXPN group compared to the ILN group, which indicates that the compressive stability of the innovative EXPN might be weaker compared to the ILN. In summary, the new EXPN represents an interesting alternative to conventional intramedullary nails. However, in direct comparison to conventional interlocking nails, the EXPN has shown weaknesses in the neutralization of axial compressive forces, which indicates that at least biomechanically the interlocking nail seems advantageous. Further in-vitro and in-vivo investigations are required before clinical use can be recommended.