Comparison of mechanical stability of elastic titanium, nickel-titanium, and stainless steel nails used in the fixation of diaphyseal long bone fractures

Pei Yuan Lee, Yen Nien Chen*, Jin-Jia Hu, Chih Han Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Elastic nails made of the nickel-titanium shape memory alloy (Nitinol) have been reported to control bone modeling in animal studies. However, the mechanical stability of the Nitinol nail in the fixation of long bone fractures remains unclear. This study compared mechanical stability among nails made of three materials, namely Nitinol, titanium, and stainless steel, in the fixation of long bone fractures. These three materials had identical shapes (arc length: ϕ/2 and radius: 260 mm). A cylindrical sawbone with a 10-mm gap and fixed with two C-shaped elastic nails was used to examine the stability of the nails. A finite element (FE) model was developed based on the sawbone model. The end cap for elastic nails was not used in the sawbone test but was considered based on a constraint equation in FE simulation. The results of stability tests appeared to depend on the presence or absence of the end cap. In the sawbone test, the titanium nail yielded a higher ultimate force against the applied load than did the stainless steel and Nitinol nails before the gap completely closed; the difference in linear stiffness between the nails was nonsignificant. In FE simulation, the titanium nail produced smaller gap shortening than did stainless steel and Nitinol nails without the end cap; the difference in gap shortening between the nails was minor with the end cap. The titanium elastic nail should be a better choice in managing diaphyseal long bone fractures when the end cap is not used. For Nitinol and stainless steel nails, the end cap should be used to stop the nail from dropping out and to stabilize the fractured bone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2159
JournalMaterials
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Diaphyseal fracture
  • Nitinol
  • Stainless
  • Titanium

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