Filling Open Screw Holes in the Area of Metaphyseal Comminution Does Not Affect Fatigue Life of the Synthes Variable Angle Distal Femoral Locking Plate in the AO/OTA 33-A3 Fracture Model

Luis Grau, Kevin Collon, Ali Alhandi, David Kaimrajh, Maria Varon, Loren Latta, Fernando Vilella-Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study is to evaluate the biomechanical effect of filling locking variable angle (VA) screw holes at the area of metaphyseal fracture comminution in a Sawbones® (Sawbones USA, Vashon, Washington) model (AO/OTA 33A-3 fracture) using a Synthes VA locking compression plate (LCP) (Depuy Synthes, Warsaw, Indiana).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Seven Sawbones® femur models had a Synthes VA-LCP placed as indicated by the manufacturers technique. A 4cm osteotomy was then created to simulate an AO/OTA 33-A3 femoral fracture pattern with metaphyseal comminution. The control group consisted of four constructs in which the open screw holes at the area of comminution were left unfilled; the experimental group consisted of three constructs in which the VA screw holes were filled with locking screws. One of the control constructs was statically loaded to failure at a rate of 5mm/min. A value equal to 75% of the ultimate load to failure was used as the loading force for fatigue testing of 250,000 cycles at 3Hz. Cycles to failure was recorded for each construct and averages were compared between groups.

RESULTS: The average number of cycles to failure in the control and experimental groups were 37524±8187 and 43304±23835, respectively (p=0.72). No significant difference was observed with respect to cycles to failure or mechanism of failure between groups. In all constructs in both the control and experimental groups, plate failure reproducibly occurred with cracks through the variable angle holes in the area of bridged comminution.

CONCLUSIONS: The Synthes VA-LCP in a simulated AO/OTA 33-A3 comminuted metaphyseal femoral fracture fails in a reproducible manner at the area of comminution through the "honeycomb" VA screw holes. Filling open VA screw holes at the site of comminution with locking screws does not increase fatigue life of the Synthes VA-LCP in a simulated AO/OTA 33-A3 distal femoral fracture. Further studies are necessary to determine whether use of this particular plate is contraindicated when bridging distal femoral fractures with metaphyseal comminution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-297
Number of pages5
JournalSurgical technology international
Volume32
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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