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Objective— To compare the biomechanical properties of intact immature horse femurs and 3 stabilization methods in ostectomized femurs.

Animal or Sample Population— Eighteen pairs of femurs from immature horses aged 1 to 15 months, and weighing 68 to 236 kg.

Methods— Thirty-four immature horse femurs were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 test groups: 1) interlocking intramedullary nail (IIN) (n = 6); 2) IIN with a cranial dynamic compression plate (I/DCP) (n = 6); 3) 2 dynamic compression plates (2DCP) (n = 8); 4) intact femurs tested to failure in lateromedial (LM) bending (n = 6); and 5) intact femurs tested to failure in caudocranial (CaCr) bending (n = 8). Mid-diaphyseal ostectomies (1 cm) were performed in all fixation constructs. Biomechanical testing consisted of 4 nondestructive tests: CaCr bending, LM bending, compression, and torsion, followed by bending to failure. All groups were tested to failure in LM bending with the exception of 1 group of intact femurs tested to failure in CaCr bending. Stiffness and failure properties were compared among groups.

Results— The 2DCP-femur construct had greater structural stiffness in nondestructive bending than the IIN-femur construct in either LM or CaCr bending, and the I/DCP-femur construct in LM bending. Only the I/DCP and 2DCP fixations were similar to intact bone in nondestructive-bending tests. In addition, the 2DCP-femur construct had greater structural and gap torsional stiffness than the I/DCP-femur construct, and greater gap torsional stiffness than the IIN-femur construct. However, all of the fixation methods tested, including the 2DCP-femur construct, had lower structural stiffness in torsional loading compared with intact bone. No significant differences in structural stiffness were found between intact bones and femur constructs tested nondestructively in compression. In resistance to LM bending to failure, the 2DCP-femur construct was superior to the IIN-femur construct, yet similar to the I/DCP-femur construct. Also, evaluation of yield and failure loads revealed no significant differences between intact bone and any of the femur constructs tested to failure in LM bending.

Conclusions— In general, the 2DCP-femur construct provided superior strength and stiffness compared with the IIN and I/DCP-femur constructs under bending and torsion.

Clinical Relevance— Double plating of diaphyseal comminuted femoral fractures in immature horses may be the best method of repair, because in general, it provides the greatest strength and stiffness in bending and torsion.