Biomechanical study of 4-hole pubic symphyseal plating: Locked versus unlocked constructs

Mark L. Prasarn, Greg Zych, Greg Gaski, Dinah Baria, David Kaimrajh, Ted Milne, Loren L. Latta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To the authors' knowledge, no published studies have examined the use of locking plates on injuries of the anterior pelvic ring. The purpose of this study was to determine whether locked plates provide enhanced stability in the treatment of pubic symphyseal disruptions. Completely unstable pelvic injuries were simulated in pelvic Sawbones (model 1301; Pacific Research Laboratories, Vashon, Washington) and 2 different fixation constructs used for anterior fixation (4-hole, 3.5-mm pubic symphysis plate with all locked or all unlocked screws). Adjunctive sacroiliac screw fixation with a single 7.3-mm screw placed into S1 was used in all specimens. Specimens were analyzed for motion at the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints using a Material Testing System (MTS Systems Corporation, Eden Prairie, Minnesota). Each specimen was subjected to compressive loading in a single-limb stance. Side loading was also examined. The main outcome measurement was motion at the pubic symphysis and sacroiliac joints and overall construct stiffness. No significant difference existed in overall construct stiffness between the 2 methods of pubic symphysis fixation. The motions at the pubic symphysis or injured sacroiliac joints were not significantly different. In addition, motion at the pubic symphysis joint with lateral load was not improved with a locking construct. No significant difference existed between 4-hole locked or unlocked constructs used for fixation of the pubic symphysis. No apparent advantage of locking screws exists for disruptions of the pubic symphysis, and recent reports have questioned the possibility of catastrophic failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1028-e1032
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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