Biomechanical comparison of expandable and locked intramedullary femoral nails

Miguel L.R. Oliveira, Michael A. Lemon, Simon C. Mears, A. Feroz Dinah, Matthew D. Waites, Trevor A. Knight, Stephen M. Belkoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES:: The expandable intramedullary (IM) nail does not require locking and fluroscopy use is minimized. However, the lack of cross-locking screws may adversely affect the fixation's rotational stability. The purpose of our study was to compare the rotational stability afforded by an expandable nail with that of a standard locked nail. METHODS:: In a cadaver model of a diaphyseal femoral fracture (OTA type 32-A3), we compared first-generation expandable IM nails with standard locked IM nails in osteoporotic and nonosteoporotic femora (10 pairs each) and second-generation expandable nails with standard locked IM nails only in nonosteoporotic femora (10 pairs). To simulate torsional loads during walking, we applied an external rotation moment of -1 to 10 Nm at 1 Hz to each construct for 5000 cycles. Failure was defined as 15 degrees of rotation at the fracture site. We used McNemar's test to check for significant (P < 0.05) differences in failure between groups. RESULTS:: Of the first-generation expandable nails, 90% failed (9/10 in osteoporotic and 9/10 in nonosteoporotic femora) within the first 1000 cycles. Of the respective locked nails, significantly fewer failed in nonosteoporotic femora than in osteoporotic femora (0/10 and 3/10, respectively). Of the second-generation nails, 8/10 failed within 100 cycles of testing. Of the comparative locked nails, none failed at 5000 cycles. CONCLUSIONS:: We concluded that the expandable IM femoral nail, when tested in purely axial rotation, has poor rotational stability compared with the standard locked IM femoral nail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-450
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of orthopaedic trauma
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Expandable nail
  • Intramedullary nail
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomechanical comparison of expandable and locked intramedullary femoral nails'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this