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Vascular response in fractured limbs with and without immobilisation: An experimental study on rabbits

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An experimental study was carried out on 24 rabbits in whom a fracture of the tibia was treated without plaster (group 1) and 24 rabbits in whom a plaster was applied to immobilise the fracture (group 2). The rabbits from each group were killed at varying intervals and the limbs were perfused with chromopaque so that the vascularity could be assessed by radiographs.

After fracture the vascular response in limbs increased gradually from the third day, reached a peak by the end of the second week and thereafter declined gradually. The capillaries around the fracture site proliferated by the second week. When plaster was not used (group 1) dilatation of the main artery was followed by proliferation of the small and medium-sized vessels and capillaries which persisted until the tenth week. In group 2 (plaster) the vascular pattern returned to normal by the seventh week. Excess callus and delayed union was present in group 1 whereas early union with less callus formation occurred in group 2.


On a réalisé une étude expérimentale sur 24 lapins chez lesquels une fracture du tibia a été traitée sans plâtre (groupe 1) et sur 24 autres lapins qui ont bénéficié d'un plâtre immobilisant leur fracture (groupe 2). Les animaux des deux groupes ont été sacrifiés à intervalles variables et les pièces ont été perfusées avec un produit opaque permettant de visualiser radiologiquement la vascularisation.

Après la fracture la réponse vasculaire augmente progressivement à partir du 3ème jour, atteint un maximum à la fin de la 2ème semaine puis diminue progressivement. Les capillaires se développent au niveau du foyer de fracture au cours de la 2ème semaine. En l'absence de plâtre (groupe 1) la dilatation de l'artère principale est suivie d'une prolifération des vaisseaux, petits et moyens, ainsi que des capillaires, qui persiste jusqu'à la 10ème semaine. Dans le groupe 2 (avec plâtre) le système vasculaire revient à la normale dès la 7ème semaine. Des cals exubérants et des retards de consolidation ont été observés dans le groupe 1 alors qu'une consolidation précoce avec formation de cal modéré est la règle dans le groupe 2.

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Correspondence to R. C. Mohanti.

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Mohanti, R.C., Mahakul, N.C. Vascular response in fractured limbs with and without immobilisation: An experimental study on rabbits. International Orthopaedics 7, 173–177 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00269502

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Key words

  • Vascular response
  • Fracture
  • Rabbit limbs
  • Immobilisation