A new modular testing system for biomechanical evaluation of tibial intramedullary fixation devices

Christian Gaebler, Andreas Speitling, Edward L. Milne, Stefanie Stanzl-Tschegg, Vilmos Vécsei, Loren L. Latta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This biomechanical study was performed to evaluate a new modular, tibial testing system developed for analysis of tibial nails and their locking screws.A new testing system, consisting of five modules, was designed to simulate a tibia. For this study one module was removed to simulate a 55-mm distal tibial defect inducing maximum loading on the distal portion of the implant and locking bolts. The tibial load offsets were 23 mm proximally and 10 mm distally medial to the centreline of the tibial shaft to simulate the location of the expected resultant load during the peak loading and inversion torque on the ankle during the gait cycle. Four solid tibial nails (STN®, Stryker-Howmedica-Osteonics, Kiel, Germany) were tested to static failure and 15 nails were tested dynamically.Our results showed that the solid tibial nails fractured in the testing device in the same manner and location as they do in clinical series. Evaluation of the results showed the mean fatigue limit of the STN to be 1.4 kN for 500 000 cycles with a standard deviation (S.D.) of 0.33 kN.This biomechanical study establishes a standard technique for the biomechanical testing of tibial nails, in a clinically relevant manner, avoiding the inconsistency of cadaver bone tests. As it is a standardised test set-up this new modular testing system could serve as a standard by which small diameter tibial nails and other devices could be evaluated and compared with other systems currently in use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-712
Number of pages5
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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