An efficient and reproducible protocol for distraction osteogenesis in a rat model leading to a functional regenerated femur

  • Pithioux Martine
  • Roseren Flavy
  • Jalain Christian
  • Launay Franck
  • Charpiot Philippe
  • Chabrand Patrick
  • Roffino Sandrine
  • Lamy Edouard

  • Bone lengthening
  • External fixator
  • Distraction osteogenesis
  • Surgical procedure
  • Micro-CT Date
  • Rat model
  • Bioengineering
  • Issue 128


This protocol describes the use of a newly developed external fixator for distraction osteogenesis in a rat femoral model. Distraction osteogenesis (DO) is a surgical technique leading to bone regeneration after an osteotomy. The osteotomized extremities are moved away from each other by gradual distraction to reach the desired elongation. This procedure is widely used in humans for lower and upper limb lengthening, treatment after a bone nonunion, or the regeneration of a bone defect following surgery for bone tumor excision, as well as in maxillofacial reconstruction. Only a few studies clearly demonstrate the efficiency of their protocol in obtaining a functional regenerated bone, i.e., bone that will support physiological weight-bearing without fracture after removal of the external fixator. Moreover, protocols for DO vary and reproducibility is limited by lack of information, making comparison between studies difficult. The aim of this study was to develop a reproducible protocol comprising an appropriate external fixator design for rat limb lengthening, with a detailed surgical technique that permits physiological weight-bearing by the animal after removal of the external fixator.