A fractured scaphoid is a common disabling injury that is frequently complicated by non-union. The treatment of non-union remains challenging because of the scaphoid’s small size and delicate blood supply. Large animal models are the most reliable method to evaluate the efficacy of new treatment modalities before their translation into clinical practice. The goal of this study was to model a human scaphoid fracture complicated by non-union in Yucatan mini-pigs. Imaging and perfusion studies were used to confirm that the anatomy and blood supply of the radiocarpal bone in mini-pigs were similar to the human scaphoid. A 3 mm osteotomy of the radiocarpal bone was generated and treated with immediate fixation or filled with a dense collagen gel followed by delayed fixation. Bone healing was assessed using quantitative micro computed tomography and histology. With immediate fixation, the osteotomy site was filled with new bone across its whole length resulting in complete bridging. The dense collagen gel, previously shown to impede neo-vascularization, followed by delayed fixation resulted in impaired bridging with less bone of lower quality. This model is an appropriate, easily reproducible model for the evaluation of novel approaches for the repair of human scaphoid fractures.
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