Miniature swine were used to study the effect of cervical fracture on femoral head blood flow. Laser Doppler flowmetry was used to evaluate femoral head blood flow before and after the fracture, after internal fixation with or without compression, and 8 weeks post-fracture. Fluorescent bone-labeling was performed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks post-fracture. Femoral head blood flow decreased to 40 percent of baseline following fracture, partly from the disruption of venous drainage. Histologically, all femoral heads showed some degree of trabecular thinning, micro-fracture, and neovascularization when compared with controls. Analyses of the laser Doppler flowmetry data, fluorescent label histology, microradiography and bone densitometry indicated that late (4-6 weeks) revascularization produces severe trabecular mechanical weakening and resultant femoral head collapse. Femoral head ischemia following fracture probably falls along a continuum, with only the more severe cases proceeding to mechanical collapse. Femoral neck fractures in the minipig produce femoral head necrosis of a severity and incidence which closely parallels that of the human population; thus, the minipig is a useful model for further study of complications following femoral neck fracture in humans
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank Elena Rampoldi for preparing the histologic material, Robert Moor for technical assistance, and Rebecca Lessard and Greta Stromberg for preparing and editing the manuscript. This study was funded by Swiss National Science Foundation Grant number 188.8.131.52, an OREF Berg SIoat Travelling Fellowship, and the 1985 A 0 Interna-tional Jack McDaniel Scholarship.