The introduction of fixed-angle plate osteosynthesis techniques has provided us a further means to treat periprosthetic femoral fractures. The goal of this experimental study is to evaluate the biomechanical properties and stability of treated periprosthetic fractures when using two different plate systems, which vary in the locking mechanism and the screw placement (monocortical or bicortical) with respect to the prosthesis stem.
Materials and methods
Using five pairs of formalin-fixed femora, a Vancouver B1 periprosthetic fracture was treated either with a 13-hole LISS® titanium plate using four monocortical periprosthetic screws or with a non-contact bridging plate (NCB) DF® plate using bicortical angle-stable blocked screws positioned ventrally or dorsally to the prosthesis stem. Bones were loaded under axial and cyclic compression with a progressively increased load until failure. Displacement at the osteotomy gap was measured during loading using an ultra-sound measuring system.
The mean displacement in the region of the fracture gap was not significantly different at any time during the experiments for the two models. The mean force resulting in subsequent model failure was similar in both models; the failure morphology varied slightly between the models, however. Four of the five LISS® models exhibited either a tear-out of the monocortical screws or a decortication from the bony shaft of the cortical lamella surrounding the screws. On the other side, two of the NCB models showed macroscopically visible fissures along the osteosynthesis plates at the height of the osteotomy gap, and were hence considered implant failures. Only one NCB model showed tear-out of the bicortically placed screws.
Bicortical screw placement provides more stable anchoring when compared to monocortical screw fixation. However, in relation to the amount of motion at the osteotomy gap and to failure loads, stabilisation of periprosthetic femoral fractures can be equally well achieved using either the LISS® plate with periprosthetic monocortical screws or the NCB plate with poly-axially placed bicortical screws.
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Accepted: May 3, 2010
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