The generation of closed femoral fractures in mice: a model to study bone healing

Justin N. Williams, Yong Li, Anuradha Valiya Kambrath, Uma Sankar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bone fractures impose a tremendous socio-economic burden on patients, in addition to significantly affecting their quality of life. Therapeutic strategies that promote efficient bone healing are non-existent and in high demand. Effective and reproducible animal models of fractures healing are needed to understand the complex biological processes associated with bone regeneration. Many animal models of fracture healing have been generated over the years; however, murine fracture models have recently emerged as powerful tools to study bone healing. A variety of open and closed models have been developed, but the closed femoral fracture model stands out as a simple method for generating rapid and reproducible results in a physiologically relevant manner. The goal of this surgical protocol is to generate unilateral closed femoral fractures in mice and facilitate a post-fracture stabilization of the femur by inserting an intramedullary steel rod. Although devices such as a nail or a screw offer greater axial and rotational stability, the use of an intramedullary rod provides a sufficient stabilization for consistent healing outcomes without producing new defects in the bone tissue or damaging nearby soft tissue. Radiographic imaging is used to monitor the progression of callus formation, bony union, and subsequent remodeling of the bony callus. Bone healing outcomes are typically associated with the strength of the healed bone and measured with torsional testing. Still, understanding the early cellular and molecular events associated with fracture repair is critical in the study of bone tissue regeneration. The closed femoral fracture model in mice with intramedullary fixation serves as an attractive platform to study bone fracture healing and evaluate therapeutic strategies to accelerate healing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere58122
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number138
StatePublished - Aug 16 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone fracture
  • Femur
  • Fracture healing
  • Issue 138
  • Medicine
  • Mouse fracture model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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