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The Bone & Joint Journal
Vol. 95-B, Issue 12 | Pages 1662 - 1666
1 Dec 2013
Parker L Garlick N McCarthy I Grechenig S Grechenig W Smitham P

The AO Foundation advocates the use of partially threaded lag screws in the fixation of fractures of the medial malleolus. However, their threads often bypass the radiodense physeal scar of the distal tibia, possibly failing to obtain more secure purchase and better compression of the fracture.

We therefore hypothesised that the partially threaded screws commonly used to fix a medial malleolar fracture often provide suboptimal compression as a result of bypassing the physeal scar, and proposed that better compression of the fracture may be achieved with shorter partially threaded screws or fully threaded screws whose threads engage the physeal scar.

We analysed compression at the fracture site in human cadaver medial malleoli treated with either 30 mm or 45 mm long partially threaded screws or 45 mm fully threaded screws. The median compression at the fracture site achieved with 30 mm partially threaded screws (0.95 kg/cm2 (interquartile range (IQR) 0.8 to 1.2) and 45 mm fully threaded screws (1.0 kg/cm2 (IQR 0.7 to 2.8)) was significantly higher than that achieved with 45 mm partially threaded screws (0.6 kg/cm2 (IQR 0.2 to 0.9)) (p = 0.04 and p < 0.001, respectively). The fully threaded screws and the 30mm partially threaded screws were seen to engage the physeal scar under an image intensifier in each case.

The results support the use of 30 mm partially threaded or 45 mm fully threaded screws that engage the physeal scar rather than longer partially threaded screws that do not. A 45 mm fully threaded screw may in practice offer additional benefit over 30 mm partially threaded screws in increasing the thread count in the denser paraphyseal region.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2013;95-B:1662–6.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 77-B, Issue 6 | Pages 967 - 970
1 Nov 1995
Thomas Rde W Batten J Want S McCarthy I Brown M Hughes S

We have studied the ability of a range of antibiotics to penetrate intervertebral disc tissue in vitro, using a mouse disc model. Equilibrium concentrations of antibiotics incorporated into the entire disc were determined by bioassay using a microbial growth-inhibition method. Uptake was significantly higher with positively-charged aminoglycosides compared with negatively-charged penicillins and cephalosporins. Uncharged ciprofloxacin showed an intermediate degree of uptake. Our results support the hypothesis that electrostatic interaction between charged antibiotics and negatively-charged glycosaminoglycans in the disc is an important factor in antibiotic penetration, and may explain their differential uptake.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 77-B, Issue 3 | Pages 490 - 493
1 May 1995
Reichert I McCarthy I Hughes S

The tibial nutrient artery supplies 62% of cortical blood flow in the diaphysis and normal blood flow is centrifugal (Willans 1987). Intramedullary reaming destroys the nutrient artery and injures the endosteal surface of the cortex. Trueta (1974) suggested that the direction of blood flow can reverse from centrifugal to centripetal after loss of the endosteal supply. We examined this hypothesis by measuring cortical and periosteal blood flow after intramedullary reaming of the tibia in eight sheep, using 57Co radiolabelled microspheres. The unreamed contralateral tibiae served as a control group. Thirty minutes after reaming there was no significant change in cortical blood flow, but a sixfold increase in the periosteal flow. Our study confirms Trueta's hypothesis; after trauma or in other pathological states, flow can become centripetal.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 75-B, Issue 6 | Pages 845 - 847
1 Nov 1993
Hughes S Reichert I McCarthy I

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 73-B, Issue 5 | Pages 819 - 825
1 Sep 1991
Wallace A Draper E Strachan R McCarthy I Hughes S

We examined the effect of periosteal devascularisation upon the early healing of osteotomies of sheep tibiae held in an instrumented external fixation system with an axial stiffness of 240 N/mm. At 14 days, cortical blood flow measured by the microsphere technique was 19.3 ml/min/100g in the well-vascularised osteotomies, but only 1.7 ml/min/100g in the devascularised osteotomies, despite an increase in medullary flow (p less than 0.0005). Delay in healing of the devascularised osteotomies was suggested by an in vivo monitoring system and confirmed by post-mortem mechanical testing. We suggest that the osteogenic stimulus of dynamic external fixation is dependent on the early restoration of cortical blood flow in devascularised fractures.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 72-B, Issue 3 | Pages 391 - 394
1 May 1990
Strachan R McCarthy I Fleming R Hughes S

There has been a long-standing debate as to whether medullary or periosteal flow is the dominant vascular supply during the healing of diaphyseal fractures. We used radioactive microspheres to quantify blood flow to the canine tibia two weeks after an osteotomy. There was a significant contribution from the periosteum to the blood supply of healing cortical bone after nutrient artery ligation, with a reversal of flow from a centrifugal to a centripetal direction. Our study has confirmed the qualitative observations of Trueta (1974) regarding the significant recruitment of vessels from surrounding soft tissue during fracture healing. We have not studied the later stages of healing.

The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 67-B, Issue 3 | Pages 463 - 469
1 May 1985
Law H Annan I McCarthy I Hughes S Stead A Camburn M Montgomery H

We have investigated the effect of currents induced by electromagnetic fields on the healing of the tibia of sheep after osteotomy, using objective and quantifiable criteria wherever possible. A battery-powered, induction apparatus was developed and was enclosed within the cast applied to the limb, so that the treated fractures received pulsed magnetic fields for 24 hours a day while the animals were freely mobile. In all, 13 sheep were treated and 13 were used as controls. The response was assessed by radiography of the limb and of the excised bone, by histology, including measurement of the areas of callus, fibrocallus and cortical bone, and by measurement of the uptake and extraction of bone-seeking mineral. All the bones healed and no statistically significant differences between the treated animals and the controls were discovered except (at only P less than 0.05) in the uptake of bone-seeking mineral; this increased more rapidly in treated animals over the two to three weeks after osteotomy, although at six weeks the uptake in both groups was the same.