Notched K-wire for low thermal damage bone drilling. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Kirschner wire (K-wire) is a common bone drilling tool in orthopedic surgery to affix fractured bone. Significant heat is produced due to both the cutting and the friction between the K-wire and the bone debris during drilling. Such heat can result in high temperatures, leading to osteonecrosis and other secondary injuries. To reduce thermal injury and other high-temperature associated complications, a new K-wire design with three notches along the three-plane trocar tip fabricated using a thin micro-saw tool is studied. These notches evacuate bone debris and reduce the clogging and heat generation during bone drilling. A set of four K-wires, one without notches and three notched, with depths of 0.5, 0.75, and 1mm, are evaluated. Bone drilling experiments conducted on bovine cortical bone show that notched K-wires could effectively decrease the temperature, thrust force, and torque during bone drilling. K-wires with notches 1mm deep reduced the thrust force and torque by approximately 30%, reduced peak temperatures by 43%, and eliminated blackened burn marks in bone. This study demonstrates that a simple modification of the tip of K-wires can effectively reduce bone temperatures during drilling.

published proceedings

  • Med Eng Phys

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, Y., Belmont, B., Wang, Y., Tai, B., Holmes, J., & Shih, A.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Yao||Belmont, Barry||Wang, Yiwen||Tai, Bruce||Holmes, James||Shih, Albert

publication date

  • January 2017