New rabbit knee model of posttraumatic joint contracture: Indirect capsular damage induces a severe contracture

Sergiy Nesterenko, Mark E. Morrey, Matthew P. Abdel, Kai Nan An, Scott P. Steinmann, Bernard F. Morrey, Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Reported models of joint contracture fail to result in severe motion loss. Our purpose was to develop a rabbit model of knee contracture and compare it to another well-accepted model to determine if more severe stiffness can be achieved. Sixteen skeletally mature New Zealand White female rabbits had their right knee operated to create 3-mm defects on the noncartilaginous portions of the femoral condyles, hyperextend the joint to disrupt the posterior capsule, and immobilize the joint in maximum flexion with a Kirschner-wire for 8 weeks (group I). Sixteen additional rabbits were operated on using an identical protocol except for the absence of capsular injury (group II). In each group, mechanical testing was performed at the time of Kirschner-wire release in eight animals, and 16 weeks after remobilization in eight animals. At immobilization release, the average contracture was 76 ± 24° in group I versus 20 ± 10° in group II (p < 0.001). Sixteen weeks after remobilization, the mean contracture was 49 ± 15° group I versus 11 ± 108 in group II (p < 0.001). When associated with bone perforations and immobilization in forced flexion, injury to the posterior capsule results in a severe contracture in the rabbit knee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1028-1032
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Immobilization
  • Joint capsule
  • Knee joint
  • Posttraumatic joint contracture
  • Rabbit model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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