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Insertional characteristics of three types of transfixation pin taps in third metacarpal bones from equine cadavers

Lauren N. Mundy, Timothy B. Lescun, Russell P. Main, T. Hall Griffin
American journal of veterinary research 2020 v.81 no.2 pp. 172-179
cadaver, heat, horses, metacarpus, prototypes, temperature, veterinary medicine
OBJECTIVE To compare heat generation and mechanical bone damage achieved with 2 tapered and 1 cylindrical transfixation pin taps in third metacarpal bones from equine cadavers. SAMPLE 18 pairs (36 specimens) of third metacarpal bones from euthanized horses with no known metacarpal disease. PROCEDURES In each bone, an investigator drilled 3 holes for placement of a 6.3-mm cylindrical transfixation pin, a 6.3-mm tapered pin using a prototype tapered tap, and a 6.3-mm tapered pin using a revised tapered tap. One bone of each pair was tapped by hand and the other with an electric drill. Temperatures of the drill bits, reamers, and taps were measured and used to compare heat generation among tap groups and tapping methods (hand vs power tapping). Macrodamage (all bone pairs) and microdamage (6 bone pairs) were assessed. RESULTS The revised tapered tap resulted in less heat generation and less total thread microdamage, compared with the prototype tapered and cylindrical taps. Power tapping created less bone damage but higher temperatures than did hand tapping for all bone groups. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The revised tap design for tapered pin insertion was superior to the prototype tap design and yielded similar or less bone damage than achieved with cylindrical pin insertion in equine third metacarpal bone specimens. We recommend careful hand tapping for tapered pin insertion rather than power tapping, which generated greater heat. The revised tapered tap could be expected to perform better than a cylindrical pin tap in terms of thermal and mechanical microdamage and should be used for insertion of tapered transfixation pins.