Destination of debris during intramedullary reaming. An experimental study on sheep femurs.

Published online: Oct 27 2000

J P Frölke, H Van de Krol, F C Bakker, P Patka, and H J Haarman.

Department of Trauma and Accident Surgery, Academic Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This study was designed to further explain the better fracture healing in fractures treated with a reamed nail. It investigates the location and quantity of the reaming debris in an ex vivo animal model to test the autograft theory. In 10 cadaveric sheep femurs, a 5-mm semicircular gap was created at the midshaft. The medullary cavity was opened and the reaming debris that dropped from the gap during reaming and the debris from the proximal opening were collected and weighed separately. The mean harvest of reaming debris at the gap was 0.99 g +/- 0.12 g (24%) and from the proximal opening at the medullary cavity 3.08 g +/- 0.31 g (76%) (total 4.07 +/- 0.34 g). This study proves that a significant amount of reaming debris collects at an artificial fracture gap during reaming of the medullary cavity. This finding supports the theory of bone autografting.