The PRECICE magnetic IM compression nail for long bone nonunions: a preliminary report Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • DNA Ligases
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • © 2019, The Author(s). Introduction: The magnetic intramedullary (IM) compression nail is capable of providing sustained compression for the treatment of nonunions of long bones. This ability was previously only possible with the use of external fixation. We asked the following questions: How effective is the IM compression nail at achieving union? How do we know when adequate compression has been attained? Which types of nonunions are good candidates for this treatment? Materials and methods: Fourteen patients with nonunions of the tibia (5) or femur (9) were treated with the PRECICE IM compression nail. The average age was 49 years number of previous surgeries was 1.9, 7 were atrophic and 7 normotrophic, 3 were metaphyseal and 11 diaphyseal. All PRECICE IM nails were pre-distracted prior to implantation. Compression was applied post-operatively until the locking bolts were seen on X-ray to be bending or the nail was no longer shortening despite applying the external magnet. Results: Union was achieved in 13/14 cases. The time to union was 24.5 weeks (range 11–60). The two proximal tibia metaphyseal nonunions, both deformed into varus (4°) and flexion (10°) after compression was applied with one failing to unite. The distal tibia metaphyseal and diaphyseal nonunions did not deform upon compression. Three patients had positive cultures and were treated with IV antibiotics for 6 weeks followed by 3 months of oral suppression without subsequent infection. No mechanical nail failures were seen. Conclusions: The IM compression nail was successful at applying compression, preventing deformity, and obtaining union in all diaphyseal and in distal tibia metaphyseal nonunions. Signs of active compression are bending of the locking bolts and failure of the nail to shorten. Proximal tibia metaphyseal nonunion may not be suited for this treatment.

publication date

  • January 2019



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00402-019-03225-4