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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.


18 pairs (36 specimens) of third metacarpal bones from euthanized horses with no known metacarpal disease.


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.


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.


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.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


OBJECTIVE To compare heat generation and mechanical bone damage for tapered and cylindrical transfixation pins during drilling, tapping, and pin insertion in equine third metacarpal bones.

SAMPLE 16 pairs of cadaveric equine third metacarpal bones.

PROCEDURES For cylindrical pin insertion, a 6.2-mm hole was drilled and tapped with a cylindrical tap, and then a standard 6.3-mm pin was inserted. For tapered pin insertion, a 6.0-mm hole was drilled, reamed with a tapered reamer, and tapped with a tapered tap, and then a 6.3-mm tapered pin was inserted. Paired t tests and 1-way ANOVAs were used to compare heat generation (measured by use of thermocouples and thermography), macrodamage (assessed by use of stereomicroscopy), and microdamage (assessed by examination of basic fuchsin–stained histologic specimens) between cylindrical and tapered pins and between tapered pins inserted to various insertion torques.

RESULTS Tapered pin insertion generated less heat but resulted in more bone damage than did cylindrical pin insertion when pins were inserted to the same insertion torque. Insertion of tapered pins to increasing insertion torques up to 16 N•m resulted in increased heat generation and bone damage.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Tapered pin insertion resulted in lower heat production than did cylindrical pin insertion. However, tapered pin insertion resulted in greater bone damage, which likely was attributable to differences in the tapered and cylindrical taps. A tapered pin may be preferable to a cylindrical pin for insertion in equine cortical bone provided that improvements in tap design can reduce bone damage during insertion.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research