A new surgical technique, compaction, has been shown to improve implant fixation. It has been speculated that the enhanced implant fixation with compaction could be due to a spring-back effect of compacted bone. However, such an effect has yet to be shown. Therefore we investigated in a canine model whether implant cavities prepared with compaction had spring back. Before killing the animals, we used one of two surgical techniques to make implant cavities of identical dimensions in both lateral femoral condyles of 7 dogs. One side had the implant cavity prepared with compaction, the other side with drilling. The cavities were left empty in vivo for 10 minutes before the dogs were killed. Postoperative micro-CT scanning showed that the diameters of the compacted cavities were significantly smaller than those of the drilled cavities, although they had had identical dimensions initially. Thus we found a spring-back effect of compacted bone, which may be important for increasing implant fixation by reducing initial gaps between the implant and bone.
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The authors thank Doug Cooper and Kelly Grimes for their technical assistance. The Danish Rheumatism Association and Midwest Orthopaedic Research Foundation, USA, provided financial support for the study. No competing interests declared.