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Open Access Research article

Effect of plate working length on plate stiffness and cyclic fatigue life in a cadaveric femoral fracture gap model stabilized with a 12-hole 2.4 mm locking compression plate

Peini Chao1, Bryan P Conrad13, Daniel D Lewis12, MaryBeth Horodyski13 and Antonio Pozzi12*

Author Affiliations

1 Comparative Orthopaedics Biomechanical Laboratory, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

3 Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:125  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-125

Published: 24 June 2013

Abstract

Background

There are several factors that can affect the fatigue life of a bone plate, including the mechanical properties of the plate and the complexity of the fracture. The position of the screws can influence construct stiffness, plate strain and cyclic fatigue of the implants. Studies have not investigated these variables in implants utilized for long bone fracture fixation in dogs and cats. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effect of plate working length on construct stiffness, gap motion and resistance to cyclic fatigue of dog femora with a simulated fracture gap stabilized using a 12-hole 2.4 mm locking compression plates (LCP). Femora were plated with 12-hole 2.4 mm LCP using 2 screws per fracture segment (long working length group) or with 12-hole 2.4 mm LCP using 5 screws per fracture segment (a short working length group).

Results

Construct stiffness did not differ significantly between stabilization techniques. Implant failure did not occur in any of the plated femora during cycling. Mean ± SD yield load at failure in the short plate working length group was significantly higher than in the long plate working length group.

Conclusion

In a femoral fracture gap model stabilized with a 2.4 mm LCP applied in contact with the bone, plate working length had no effect on stiffness, gap motion and resistance to fatigue. The short plate working length constructs failed at higher loads; however, yield loads for both the short and long plate working length constructs were within physiologic range.

Keywords:
Locking compression plate; Femur; Fatigue; Stiffness; Gap motion; Dog