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An analytical study of number, position, size and direction of nutrient foramina of femur

Nidhi Agrawal, Amrish Tiwari, Deepak C Naik.


Background: Bones are structures that adapt to their mechanical environment and from a fetal age also adapt to the presence of naturally occurring holes called as nutrient foramina, which are narrow tunnels that conduct the nutrient arteries and the peripheral nerves.

Objective: To determine the number, position, size, and direction of nutrient foramina of femur and to calculate foraminal index (FI) for each femur.

Materials and Methods: The study was carried out in Department of Anatomy, S.S. Medical College, Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, India. A total of 100 adult human femora (50 right sides and 50 left sides) were collected from Department of Anatomy and Department of Forensic Medicine. We have measured all the four parameters, that is, number, position, size, and direction of nutrient foramina in each bone according to standard method. We have also calculated FI in each femur.

Result: According to FI, most of the nutrient foramina of femur (80%) were located in middle third (Type 2). In respect to number of nutrient foramina, more than 75% femur has single nutrient foramina that represent the only source of blood supply. In our study, the direction of nutrient foramina obeys the “growing end theory.”

Conclusion: This study provides additional information about the nutrient foramina of femur especially to orthopedicians, to select the osseous section levels of the receptor in order to place the graft without damaging the nutrient arteries. It also provides valuable guidance for the techniques such as microvascular bone transfer, which are becoming more popular.

Key words: Femur, nutrient foramina, foraminal index (FI), dominant foramina (DF), secondary foramina (SF)

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