Keeping osteocytes alive: A comparison of drilling and hammering k-wires into bone

Bas B G M Franssen, P. J. Van Diest, A. H. Schuurman, M. Kon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this study, the insertion time and histological effects of drilling and hammering K-wires into bone are described. The insertion time was measured while drilling or hammering K-wires into the femurs and tibias of ten rabbits. Four K-wires, inserted into one hind limb, were used for histological examination directly after insertion and four K-wires inserted into the contralateral hind limb were used for the same measurements 4 weeks later. The specimens were scored for presence, or absence, of osteocytes, fragmentation of the bone edges, haemorrhage, microfractures, cortical reaction and callus formation around the pin track. The insertion time needed for drilling in K-wires was significantly longer than that of hammering. Drilling also resulted in the disappearance of the osteocytes in almost all sections while hammering did not have this effect but did result in more microfractures. Hammering K-wires may be a superior technique because it prevents osteonecrosis and requires a shorter insertion time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery: European Volume
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal
  • Histology
  • Insertion technique
  • K-wire
  • Pneumatic hammer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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